March 23, 2024
Chatting the Pictures

Chatting the Pictures: Bringing Later Stage Abortions into the Light

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

This photo was taken by Maggie Shannon for a New Yorker photo essay about a Maryland clinic providing later-stage abortions. The clinic gave Shannon access to help lift secrecy around these treatments, which are most often sought due to fetal abnormalities, maternal health risks, barriers to early abortion, or late pregnancy discovery. The article estimates that only about a dozen U.S. clinics provide abortions after 24 weeks and up to 34 weeks in this Maryland clinic. The photo shows a staffer placing a sheet between a patient and a clinician who is administering an injection to stop the fetal heartbeat as part of the procedure.

In the video, we discuss how the photo style conveys the gravity and intensity of the procedure. We examine the rest of the edit to convey how communal this experience is. And we address the key symbolism, particularly the clinician’s shadow.

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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