Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Photograph Activity

I recently participated in a workshop on Reconstruction at Primary Source, an organization that I was introduced to as a grant participant last year. A fantastic teacher at the workshop presented an activity on analyzing photographs, and since I am always looking for new ways to analyze primary sources, I really latched on. The steps are as follows, and this activity could also work well with paintings.

1. Choose a person in the photograph to 'be'.

2. As that person, think about the following questions:

  • What do you see?

  • What do you think?

  • What do you feel?

This forces the students to not only place themselves into the source, but to also to identify with different groups or people. The teacher at the workshop used a photograph taken at a lynching, and asked us to step inside the photograph and take the role of the men that had committed the murder, the man who was lynched, and the children that had been watching. You may even ask your students to take on the role of the photographer.

What would your students say about the image in this post?