Lesson Plan: Life Histories

“Teaching with Photography,” UMMA Workshop for Educators, November 6, 2013

Objectives

Students will explore changes in daily life, social mores, and identity from the mid-nineteenth century to the twenty-first by examining historical photographs. Students will create a mixed-media work depicting a contemporary personality compare their collage to historical images.

National Core Standards

  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research 

Grade
6-8

Time Required
One class period

Materials

  • Photographs of contemporary personalities / celebrities
  • Scissors
  • Pencils, colored pencils and markers
  • Glue sticks
  • Newsprint and drawing paper 

Lesson

  1. Show students the photographs by Garry Winogrand and Eva Watson-Schutza.  Ask about the lives of these two women:

    · Winogrand’s photograph was taken 60 years later than Watson-Schutza. What can be said about the different time periods?  What are they doing? What would each do daily? How long would it take to get dressed? How would their clothes feel? How would they travel from place to place?

    · How would it feel to be them? Imagine and describe the personality and/or character of each of the women portrayed.

    · In addition to the women depicted in the photographs, what else do you see? By looking at the surroundings, what can be said about the women’s social status, likes and dislikes?

  2. Have students retrieve their celebrity picture or select one from the available images. Tell students they will add clothing, decor, and a setting that tell us some things about their person’s life.

  3. Pass out newsprint and pencils. Have them use pencils to sketch and brainstorm different outfits, decor, and settings for the celebrity. Suggest that they play with the space around the figure to create different effects. They could choose historical or period clothing, such as the dress featured in Watson-Schutza’s portrait.

  4. Once students complete a draft composition they like, have them cut out the head of their celebrity/personality and glue the face onto the drawing paper. Then fill in the rest of the composition based on their earlier sketches with colored pencils and markers. Remind them to use color to draw attention to elements of the portrait they want to emphasize and to influence the viewer’s ideas about the person portrayed.

  5. Discuss the resulting portraits: discussion could focus on gender or issues of identity. Conclude by returning to the first two images and asking what has changed in women’s or anyone’s roles since the time of these photographs? What has remained the same?

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Tags
Celebrity — by John Turner (October 11 2016 @ 3:04 pm)
Collage — by John Turner (October 11 2016 @ 3:04 pm)
Gender — by John Turner (October 11 2016 @ 3:04 pm)
Photograph — by John Turner (October 11 2016 @ 3:04 pm)
Photography — by John Turner (October 11 2016 @ 3:04 pm)
Women — by John Turner (October 11 2016 @ 3:04 pm)

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