Twenty-eight years ago, we witnessed what is often described as the worst campaign photo op in history: democrat Michael Dukakis posed in a helmet, riding an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. It was supposed to inspire voters to imagine Dukakis as commander in chief. Instead, it led to ridicule, a disastrous backfire. And it was staged!

Our discussion focuses on campaign and political photography. How do photographers capture authenticity in a political realm so filled with stagecraft? What are the rules? What happens when photographers capture a powerful image that nonetheless overstates the gravity or emotion of a moment? Our free-wheeling discussion includes both a multiple Pulitzer Prize winner, and a man honored as one of the "100 Most Important People in Photography." Our guests:

  • William Snyder, four-time Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and chair of the photojournalism program at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • David Burnett, photojournalist with more than five decades of work covering politics, war, and more

The image of Omran Daqneesh, a five-year-old Syrian boy who was covered in dust and blood after aerial bombardment, has captured the world's attention. Why, some have wondered, did it require a stunning photo to finally force the world to consider the plight of the Syrian people?

There's not an easy answer, but we're reminded of the power of photography. In particular, we're reminded of the value of professional photojournalists at a time when many news staffs are making cuts.

Our panel discusses the power of photography to make change, and the value of trained professionals. Our guests:

  • Max Schulte, Democrat & Chronicle lead photographer
  • William Snyder, four-time Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and chair of the photojournalism program at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Jenn Poggi, former deputy director of the White House Photo Office and RIT visiting professor

A Rochester photojournalist was 26 years old when he set out across the country in 1970 -- a man with only his friend and a beat-up VW bus. Throughout their journey, Mark Brady took black-and-white photographs.

Forty years later, Brady essentially rediscovered the slides, and he discovered a different America. It was more open, more accepting, and in some ways, more beautiful. His photographs became a book, and now his work is on display this month at the Little Theater's cafe.

Brady joins us to talk about the journey: the hospitality he found on the road; why hitchhiking was safe; his encounter with a young Michael McKean; the beauty of America; and the way that trip feels almost impossible today, and yet almost necessary. Our guests:

  • Mark Brady, photojournalist and author of The Paisley Tunnel, 1970
  • Roger Bruce, member of the Board of Trustees, Visual Studies Workshop

When is it okay for a photojournalist to manipulate a photograph, and how? A new exhibit shows dozens of famous photographs that were altered before publication. We'll talk to veterans in the field about whether they edit, and how they decide what's appropriate. Our guests:

  • Max Schulte, Democrat & Chronicle Lead Photographer
  • William Snyder, award-winning photojournalist and RIT professor
  • Loret Steinberg, RIT professor of photojournalism ethics


In honor of the eleventh World Wide Instagram Meet (#WWIM11), mobile photographers gather in Rochester to connect with each other and their city.

It's a really grey day, chilly with wind and rain, but inside Fuego Coffee it is crackling with energy. Dozens of people have gathered at the intimate little downtown Rochester coffee spot, and they're not just here for Fuego's famous affogatos.

They're here to Explore Rochester.

Photographer Trent Bell has created a stunning project called Reflect. It began when a friend of his was convicted of a violent crime and went to prison. Trent decided to shoot portrait photographs of longtime inmates who had committed violent crimes. He asked them to write letters to their younger selves, then he superimposed the portrait picture on top of the letters. Trent joins us to share their stories, their letters, and their lessons. We’ll also talk to Dale Davis, the Executive Director of the NY State Literary Center, who has created projects locally with young people who are incarcerated.