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Look At This: Seeing The Story Inside A Photo


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. OK. So it's the weekend, and you're hanging around listening to the radio, maybe scrolling through Facebook or Twitter. But there's a lot more than that online, of course, if you know where to look. And NPR's Kainaz Amaria does. Kainaz is our visuals editor. And we brought her back with us to talk about one of her team's latest projects. It's called A Photo I Love. And Erin Mystkowski of the Chicago Tribune is the first contributor. Kainaz says Erin has access to an incredible collection of images, old and new.

KAINAZ AMARIA, BYLINE: Erin does kind of what I do at NPR. She's a photo editor, but she also spends a lot of time in their archives. You know, this is, like, four stories buried under Chicago Tribune Tower. And they just published a book called "Gangsters And Grifters." It's a story about Chicago crime photos that were made nearly 100 years ago. And we asked her what's one of her favorite images in the book?

MARTIN: OK. I'm going to click on this button that says listen, and we'll hear Erin tell a little bit of the story.

ERIN MYSTKOWSKI: There were these two teenagers - University of Chicago educated young men.

AMARIA: And the first thing you're going to see is nothing. But you're going to hear Erin. And this image is going to slowly reveal. It's an old black-and-white picture of a crowd and two young men in suits looking at each other.

MYSTKOWSKI: And then if you look closely, the two guys are staring into each other's eyes with these facial expressions that I swear I never exactly have seen before. These two set out to commit the perfect murder.

AMARIA: Oh. I'm going to stop you right there. I don't want to spoil this experience for your audience or you right now. (Laughter).

MARTIN: OK. But, man, the story was just getting good.

AMARIA: Yeah, and the story is about Leopold and Loeb and a very high profile murder. And that's all I want to say right now because I want you to finish the experience later. But this stopped me in my tracks.

MARTIN: Can you say as a photographer what it is about this kind of image that tells such a powerful story?

AMARIA: Yeah, I mean it's one moment frozen in time. It's one look. It's one stare. And that's what photography does, right? And it allows you to linger in a space, in a time that if it wasn't captured it would be gone.

MARTIN: OK. So are we done here because I kind of want to get on with the rest of this story?

AMARIA: Yeah. You want me to go? Do you want me to go? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm out. I'm totally out.

MARTIN: Well, I want to find out what happens to these guys in the murder. But thank you so much, Kainaz - really appreciate it.

AMARIA: Thanks for your time, Rachel.

MARTIN: Kainaz Amaria is the editor for the NPR Visuals Team. And you can find A Photo I Love at Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.