November 3, 2023
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: On a Gaza Playground, Seized by the Peril of Fighter Jets

Welcome to Chatting the Pictures. Every two weeks, we present a short, lively video discussion between Michael Shaw, publisher of Reading the Pictures, and writer, professor, and historian, Cara Finnegan, examining a significant picture in the news. Chatting the Pictures is produced by Liliana Michelena.

By Staff
About the Video

Samar Abu Elouf took this photo for The New York Times via Redux. We see Palestinian children look toward the sky at the sound of airstrikes at a United Nations-run school in Gaza on Saturday, October 7th, 2023. More than a week after Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing some 1,400 people, Gaza officials say Israel’s bombardment has killed at least 4,100 people and wounded more than 13,000 others, with most of the casualties being women and children. After ordering a complete blockade of the 25-mile-long territory, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and a territory rights groups call “the world’s largest open-air prison.”, Israel is now demanding almost half of of its 2.3 million residents evacuate Gaza. According to the U.N., at least 20 schools of their schools in Gaza have been hit by airstrikes since Oct. 7.

Our discussion focuses on the intricate sensory and kinesthetic aspects of the photo, its portrayal of sustained fear underscoring the ongoing trauma of those living in Gaza. We also analyze the diverse emotional responses of the children and observe how the enclosed environment magnifies the confinement and perpetual vulnerability faced by Gaza’s residents.

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Michael Shaw

An analyst of news photos and visual journalism, and a frequent lecturer and writer on visual politics, photojournalism and media literacy, Michael is the founder and publisher of Reading the Pictures.

Cara Finnegan

Cara Finnegan is a writer, photo historian, and professor of Communication at the University of Illinois. She has been affiliated with Reading The Pictures for nearly 15 years, most recently as co-host of Chatting The Pictures. Her most recent book is Photographic Presidents: Making History from Daguerreotype to Digital.


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