Michael Shaw

Michael is an analyst of news photography and visual journalism, a frequent lecturer and writer on visual politics, photojournalism, and media literacy, and the founder and publisher of Reading the Pictures. He is also a clinical psychologist and organizational consultant in private practice. His clinical training involves the analysis of character styles, and his research has dealt with the creative process, visual thinking, and how metaphors can create psychological insight.

Reading the Pictures came from humble beginnings. In 2001, Michael created a cartoon called “BagNews” to engage his young sons and their friends in news and civics. Each edition captured the New York Times top story in one picture sketched on a lunch bag. In 2014, coinciding with the emergence of the blogosphere, “BagNewsNotes” was born to analyze news images. The site’s motto at the time stated: “Thousands of sites read the words, only one reads the pictures.”

Michael has presented papers or hosted panels at various conferences and photo festivals, including Photoville; Rhetoric Society of America (RSA); the Society for Photographic Education (SPE); the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), and he has lectured about photography and visual culture at schools such as Texas A&M; Northwestern; The School of Visual Arts (SVA); and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). His writing has been featured in publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, The New Republic, Salon, and American Photo.

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