December 3, 2023
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Mourning Embrace in a Gaza Hospital

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

Mohammed Salem took this photo for Reuters. It shows a Palestinian woman, Inas Abu Maamar, embracing the body of her 5-year-old niece, Saly, who was killed in an Israeli strike at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 17, 2023. The photographer was at the Nasser Hospital morgue, where residents were going to search for missing relatives. As of November 19, 2023, the Israel-Gaza war has claimed the lives of at least 13,000 people in Gaza, including at least 5,500 children. The total number of Palestinians killed or injured is over 30,000. In Israel, the death toll is approximately 1,200, with at least 5,100 injured. The reporting of casualty figures from Gaza has been hindered due to the collapse of services and communications at hospitals due to airstrikes and power outages.

In the video, we discuss the photo’s anonymity, simplicity, and the intimacy it conveys amidst the turmoil. Additionally, we present other images of the woman and child to offer context, personalize the family, and illustrate the interconnected network of relationships and communities affected by the shared loss and grief.

You can find all the Chatting the Pictures replays here.

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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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