Teaching Photo Essay

Teaching Photo Essay-73
Day 3: The photo essay was popularized by Lange and other photographers during the 1930s.Photo essays by Lange were published in various magazines and reports from the 1930s to the 1960s.Fold each of those sections in half again to create eight sections. Visual-Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools Grade 6 Artistic Perception 1.2–Discuss works of art as to theme, genre, style, idea, and differences in media.

ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: Upon completion, let each student bring their essay to class to share.

Students should present an oral summary of their essay and explain each picture.

• Students will define "social documentary" and consider the function of social-documentary photography.

• Students will research one or more of Dorothea Lange's social-documentary projects.

Aesthetic Valuing 4.1–Construct and describe plausible interpretations of what they perceive in works of art.

Grade 7 Creative Expression 2.6–Create original artwork using film, photography, computer graphics, or video.Day 2: In small groups students share their definitions of social-documentary photography and arrive at a definition they agree upon. Students share other examples of Lange's social-documentary work and discuss how the images that were part of the same project relate to one another in terms of subject matter, formal qualities, etc.Homework: Students choose and research a topic of importance or special interest to them (e.g., a community they know or are interested in knowing about, or a local or national event or a political or social issue they care about) that will be the subject of their own social-documentary project, presented in the form of a photo essay (a series of related photographs focusing on a specific topic that is intended to be viewed collectively, often with captions).These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop.CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education.• Students will research a subject of importance or special interest to them (e.g., a community they know or are interested in knowing about, or a local or national event or a political or social issue they care about) and use interview techniques to develop their project.• Students will create a photo essay about their subject that meets their definition of "social documentary." (See suggestions in "Steps" for modifying the lesson if students do not have access to cameras.)Cameras, film, photo paper, darkroom If no darkroom is available: Use digital or Polaroid cameras or have film developed at a commercial lab.Days 5-7: Students develop film and print proof sheets and enlargements (or continue to assemble found images or work on their drawings.) The images students select should collectively tell the key story they defined and described earlier. (Note: Instead of gluing, insert photos into diagonal slits cut into accordion paper at all four photo corners. • Creative: both proof sheets and enlargements show exploration of different concepts used to effectively tell a story about the chosen subject; shows experimentation with different viewing angles, lighting, and framing.Homework: Students select texts from interview material and draft any captions for images they will include in their final grouping of images. Product represents a good selection of negatives from the proof sheets.Materials for presenting photographs: 16-x-20-inch paper or board for mounting and displaying photographs with captions or materials for accordion books—good-quality, heavy-weight paper eight times as long as it is wide (for a nine-page book, paper should be nine times as long, etc.); two pieces of cardboard, foam core, or other paper board for book covers; rulers; scissors; glue sticks; and tools for scoring and folding (e.g., a bone folder). • What sort of response do you think the photographer wanted you to have? • What details in the photograph help to tell the story?• What group, event, issue, or community is shown? Homework: Each student researches the term "social documentary" and drafts a definition.

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