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Extending earlier work on iconic photographs, this essay advances an interpretive model that moves beyond the hermeneutics of suspicion to understand how image and culture interact to mediate social and political order. According to this newer model, the method of approach is curatorial, intuitive, allegorical, and deliberative; the connection between image and culture becomes accessible via a richer conception of both social surfaces and visual reportage; and understanding includes responding to a prophetic function that articulates possible futures for moral accountability.