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Reading the Pictures: The Trump 'Obama Muslim' Moment the Media Totally Missed

Michael Shaw | Posted 10.07.2015 | Media
Michael Shaw

In implicating Trump as a bigot and, by association, the audience as cohorts or sheep, the media, especially the photo media, thoroughly missed the most curious and unscripted moment of this dispiriting campaign.

Reading the Pictures: State Proves Sandra Bland Not Dead in Her Mug Shot -- Helpful as Honey on a Biscuit

Michael Shaw | Posted 07.29.2016 | Crime
Michael Shaw

Given such selective and tactical provision of "bookend" visuals in such a controversial, and then shockingly tragic case, the state shouldn't have been surprised that people would try and imagine the rest -- in this case, literally so.

Reading the Pictures: How to Understand the Newly Released 9/11 Photo of Dick Cheney with his Foot Up

Michael Shaw | Posted 07.27.2016 | Politics
Michael Shaw

It's thoroughly obvious why this photo of Dick Cheney went absolutely viral the other day. For the left-leaning, it presents the ultimate opportunity to hate on Darth Vadar for being so callous. And for the right, the nonchalance is cowboy fuel for biding one's time before retaliating with vengeance.

Reading the Pictures: Are We Seeing a New Level of Candidness From Campaign Photographers This Year?

Michael Shaw | Posted 07.13.2016 | Media
Michael Shaw

What I've been noticing since this still-young campaign got started is that the tone of the photo coverage feels a little different. What I'm sensing is somewhat less irony and condescension, and more candid moments capturing the contrivance or just the trumped up spectacle.

The Caitlyn Jenner VF Cover: What the Moment Called for Was Going Beyond Vanity

Michael Shaw | Posted 06.02.2016 | Media
Michael Shaw

It was a one-time opportunity. A threshold moment. Never before had a transgender person been so widely recognized, presented on the cover of an inter...

Reading the Pictures: Dead in the Water. Or: Ecology Is About People, Too.

Michael Shaw | Posted 06.23.2015 | Media
Michael Shaw

Isn't it curious how people tend to think about "ecology" as it relates to plants and air and water and less in terms of humanity and how much we look out for each other.

Reading the Pictures: ISIS Attacks Iraqi Base Full of US Trainers, Ho Hum

Michael Shaw | Posted 04.27.2015 | Media
Michael Shaw

Media suppression and disavowal so the bad guys don't discover what's obvious to anybody who takes an interest vs. priming the pump of the war machine. I see.

Reading the Pictures: The Optic of Family Values Just Doesn't Mix Well With the Optic of Gun Rights

Michael Shaw | Posted 04.15.2015 | Media
Michael Shaw

In terms of playing to the public's softer side, we might understand the logic behind a visual strategy of bringing the kids. But when you really look at it, the optic of family values just doesn't mix well with the optic of gun rights advocacy.

Breaking Down the Surprisingly Humanistic 'Charlie Hebdo' 'Muhammad' Cover

Michael Shaw | Posted 03.16.2015 | Media
Michael Shaw

If the now ubiquitous sign reads "I am Charlie," in the authorship and the parody on its face value, Charlie, in its own grief, is also saying: "We are you."

Dysfunctional Congress Pictures of the Year

Michael Shaw | Posted 03.02.2015 | Politics
Michael Shaw

If our broken political system represents the greatest threat to the American enterprise and this country's future, where are the pictures? Why wouldn't this debacle be the source of endless feature images, slideshows, photo galleries of shame?

Reading the Pictures: The Senate CIA Torture Report and Our Favorite Rice Photo of All Time

Michael Shaw | Posted 02.09.2015 | Politics
Michael Shaw

This ran in a NYT article in the Music section dated April 9, 2006, and it read, as we posted at the time, like "fiddling while Iraq burns." In light of the Senate C.I.A. torture report summary released yesterday, however, it strikes a different chord.

Reading the Pictures: About Race and Those Ebola Handheld Thermometer Pictures on Western News Sites

Michael Shaw | Posted 12.28.2014 | Media
Michael Shaw

Given the "loaded nature" of the objects and the situation, there are certainly ways to capture a scene like this that is not only more sensitive (and more mundane), but steers clear of exploitive associations to race and violence.

Obola: Visual Attacks on Obama Pick Up Right Where Kenya/Muslim Slurs Left Off

Michael Shaw | Posted 12.21.2014 | Politics
Michael Shaw

It's hard to tell how much the far right, in its enduring hate for Obama, is seeing an opportunity in the Ebola hysteria, or the Ebola anxiety is feeding and re-igniting those racist and religious attacks on Obama from their heyday in '07-'10 when he was so unknown.

Reading the Pictures: If It Loots, It Leads: Stereotyping the Police Shooting of Michael Brown

Michael Shaw | Posted 10.14.2014 | Media
Michael Shaw

For these acts and images to do more than express the release of anger over one more senseless killing is still another textbook example of America's racial and class polarization.

Reading the Pictures: Why You Don't See Photos of Hamas Fighters (and Why Western Photographers Have Been Unfairly Blamed)

Michael Shaw | Posted 10.07.2014 | Politics
Michael Shaw


Reading the Pictures: On the Brilliant Michelle Obama Brown vs Board of Education Site Visit Photo

Michael Shaw | Posted 09.24.2014 | Politics
Michael Shaw

2014-07-25-michelleobamabrownvboard725.jpgIf you aren't completely transfixed by photos from Gaza, Ukraine, Iraq or the border right now, you might have come across this. Simply put, it's the best visual to come out of the administration in months, maybe longer.

Reading the Pictures: Were the Reuters 'Boy in a Syrian Bomb Factory' Photos Staged?

Michael Shaw | Posted 06.03.2014 | Media
Michael Shaw

We reached out to various experts to provide us their sense of whether the photos were authentic or not, and why.

Reading the Pictures: On the Photo Exploitation of Kiev: Esquire's Hashtag Mining

Michael Shaw | Posted 04.29.2014 | Media
Michael Shaw

2014-02-27-20140227kievinstagramasuxEsquire600x356thumb.jpg What Dworzak did was remarkably simple. Following particular (in some instances, you could say "notorious") hashtags on Instagram, he took screenshots of particular pictures with his iPhone, then edited images together.

Reading the Pictures: If We Had Only Seen Hoffman in Pain

Michael Shaw | Posted 04.21.2014 | Entertainment
Michael Shaw

These photos have been on my mind since February 2. I look at them now and the anguish, especially of someone trained to hide it, is wrenching.

Reading the Pictures: Putin & Sochi: Let the FU's Begin

Michael Shaw | Posted 04.02.2014 | Politics
Michael Shaw

2014-01-31-shawimagesputinolympics131.jpg With the Winter Olympics about a week away, you can see how Western magazine covers are graphically setting the mood -- as well as the table for more fomentation.

Reading the Pictures: Twitter Is for Twits. Justin Bieber, Justin Bieber.

Michael Shaw | Posted 03.29.2014 | Media
Michael Shaw

2014-01-27-biebershaw.jpgLamenting "the good old days," NYT's Jenna Wortham now declares the service hopelessly petty and narcissistically obsessed.

Reading the Pictures: So You Missed the Photos of Bangladeshi Garment Workers Having a 'Gap/Walmart Bar-B-Que?'

Michael Shaw | Posted 03.16.2014 | World
Michael Shaw

2014-01-14-firepull.jpgPerhaps the invisibility of this story has to do with Western media's unspoken criteria for foreign news and, especially, photos.

Reading the Pictures: The Most Important Michelle Obama Photo Ever, Clarified

Michael Shaw | Posted 02.04.2014 | Politics
Michael Shaw

2013-12-05-20131205JasonReedFLOTUSdoggirlpartythumb.jpgUsing the word "important" (as in, "Most Important") is less having, or even making, fun than ultimately degrading Michelle Obama and writing her off as a fool.

Pic of the Day: White House's Crass (Visual) Response to Media's Photo Access Protest

Michael Shaw | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics
Michael Shaw

If the White House intended even a half-respectful gesture, they would have provided access to the president yesterday. Instead, they offer up a photo, again taken by their own photographer with a caption starting off: "Photojournalists photograph President Obama..."

Everybody Knows the "Napalm Girl" but How Come Nobody Knows the "Black Blouse Girl"? 45 Years Later, My Lai, the Military and Sexual Abuse

Michael Shaw | Posted 01.23.2014 | World
Michael Shaw

2013-11-13-ScreenShot20131113at9.54.15AM.pngIt's hard enough for society to take rape seriously when it happens to a young girl at a party. It's even harder when it's surrounded by other atrocities. ... But it's a part of our history (and present). We need to see it.