Photos of the Week: What We Saw

Posted on November 18, 2011


My weekly review of media images is up at La Lettre de la Photographie. Here are the samples.


THE REOCCUPATION  Photo by Mary Altaffer/AP

After weeks of parrying between New York City officials and “Occupy Wall Street” protesters, the police finally moved in at 1:00 am on November 15. The site of the protest, Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, was cleared out after the city ruled that the area had become unsanitary. Here one of the demonstrators, Brent Schmidt, is seen being arrested in the dim light. The interesting photo by Mary Altaffer shows the face of the protesters in full view, while the police remain a shadowy force. The city said protesters could return to the park, but without sleeping bags and tents.


TEAM JAPAN  Photo by David Guttenfelder/AFP/Getty Images

Two different teams from two very different times are on view in this single image: Workers charged with cleaning up Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant wait outside their operations base—a building in northern Japan that was once a soccer training facility.


MEMORIAL  Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Memorial Day, 2011: Alison Malachowski (facing the camera), mother of U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. James M. Malachowski, embraces Susanne Muller, mother of Marine Cpl. Ian M. Muller, at Arlington National Cemetery. The two soldiers served together in Afghanistan, and both died in combat there. The picture’s tiny details—the markings on Sgt. Malachowski’s gravestone, the plastic party balloons decorated with pink, yellow, red, and blue butterflies—tell the story: A soldier’s life, a mother’s loving memories.


COVER STORY, PART 1  Photos by Nigel Parry

When all is said and done, what we love the most—and what magazines like People give us, week after week—is romance. Last summer, for instance, People gave us the exclusive photos of Kim Kardashian’s wedding, for which it paid $1.5 million (or roughly $20,833 for each day of Kardashian’s 72-day marriage). This week the magazine published an exclusive excerpt from a new book by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head last January by a deranged would-be assassin. Photographer Nigel Parry shot a lovely portrait of Giffords for the new issue, but it was his cover image—Giffords smiling in the arms of her adoring husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly—that transformed a story of survival into a story about love.


COVER STORY, PART 2  Photos by Matthias Vriens-McGrath

Speaking of love, Jennifer Lopez told Glamour magazine that she’s ready for it again, following her divorce from singer Marc Anthony. Is it culturally significant that Lopez, an icon of the opulent pre-recession era, has turned 2011 into a comeback year with a new TV show, a new single, and new boyfriends? Are we tired of the blahs and ready for some more bling? If so, J.Lo will guide the way. Glamour named her one of its “Women of the Year” and offered not just one but two shots of her with a special double cover.


 COVER STORY, PART 3  Photo by Mario Sorrenti

An icon of more recent vintage, Scarlett Johansson, is featured in the new issue of Vanity Fair. Mario Testino’s sumptuous photos of the actress accompany an interview in which Johansson talks about the photo scandal that erupted recently when a number of nude self-portraits turned up on the Internet. The pictures, she said, were meant for her husband at the time, actor Ryan Reynolds. Speaking of her sexting, Johansson told the magazine, “I know my best angles.”


PARTING SHOT  Photo by Platon

The photographer Platon is noted for his portraits of political strongmen—his 2011 book Power: Portraits of World Leaders is a collection of 150 images shot over the course of a year at the United Nations. Among his best-known images was a color photo of Libya’s Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi dressed in resplendent brown robes and gray hat. But for an article about Qaddafi’s fall in the November 7 issue of The New Yorker, the magazine’s editors chose a different Platon photo—Qaddafi seen in an entirely unresplendent  black-and-white mug shot, wrinkled, jowly, and aged.