Highlights from "Visual Representation of the US/Mexico Border Wall in the Media"

On December 6th, 2018, Reading the Pictures and the Magnum Foundation presented a unique online event:  Visual Representation of the US/Mexico Border Wall in the Media. With the support of the Howard Chapnick Grant from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, Reading the Pictures conducted extensive photo research, examining over a thousand published photos from news wires and other media outlets, to curate a selection for a live, online panel discussion with a simultaneous audience chat.

The themes that emerged from the research, and informed the selection of images, are Thickening Border; Pathways and Walls; Looking Through/Back/Out; Children; Protest & Power; and Cruel Looking. Critical events unfolded daily, including the “zero tolerance” policy, the family separation crisis, and “the caravan.” What resulted was a thoughtful and critical dialogue about how images of the border are made, seen, and read, and the roles and responsibilities of image makers.


Watch the full replay of the online salon:

Special thanks to our moderator and panelists, including: Anne Demo, Assistant Professor, Communication Arts and Sciences, Penn State University (Moderator). Teddy Cruz,Architect, Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism, Visual Arts, UCSD. Fonna Forman, Associate Professor of Political Science / Co-Director, UCSD Center on Global Justice; Erin Siegal McIntyre, Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism; Nick Oza, Staff Photographer, Arizona Republic; Griselda San Martin, documentary photographer focusing on issues of immigration and identity; and Michael Shaw, Publisher, Reading The Pictures. A special thanks also to Meg Handler, Reading the Pictures Editor-at-Large and Christa Olson for photo research and creating our photo edit. Also warm appreciation to Pam Sullivan who produced the live program.


Highlight clips

Read excerpts of the audience chat on Reading The Pictures. The Reading the Pictures Salon is an on-line, real-time discussion between photojournalists, visual scholars and other visual or subject experts. Each salon examines a set of images relevant to the visual stories of the day with a focus on the media and social media framing of a significant social issue. The photo edit is the key element and driver of each Salon discussion. These 9 photos are derived from an extensive review of the content and themes of published photos representing the depth and breadth of media representation.

Simone Salvo