Recently I was able to purchase 3 digital camera for my art classroom using left-over Art Club money. I also recently attended a three day teacher workshop, "Exploring Photography in a Digital World", at the Art Institute of Chicago. I had a great time participating in the workshop and got many photo lesson ideas from it. I have not however had a chance to test these lessons in the classroom for myself yet. Some of these ideas can directly from the presenters at the workshop while other I thought up after being inspired by the presentations and exhibits. I hope that you will find these helpful. Also, please let me know if you see any flaws in my plans.
1) Shoot and Tell-
Work in groups of ...however many cameras you have. One group stages (poses for) a scene for another group to photograph. The other group members each select a viewpoint to shoot from (above, below, close-up, straight on, etc.) and they all take a picture at the exact same time. The photos are downloaded, saved and maybe printed (see other option below). Using the photos taken of them each group makes up a story about what is happening in the photos. These stories can be objective or subjective, written in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd person and must have a beginning, middle and end. They should also be relatively short (I would suggest 6-12 sentences).these stories along with the photos could be made into a PowerPoint or i-movie and presented in class.
2) Me, Myself and I
Students will use a variety of methods to capture photos of themselves (being the photographer and the subject at the same time...not team-work). A few method options are:
-straight photo (hold camera out, point at yourself and shoot)
-reflections (photograph your reflection in any reflective surface) Try not to get the camera in the picture. You might even try getting the real you as well as your reflection in the same photo.
-use the camera timer to take a photo of you.
-Take multiple pics of yourself and arrange and color Warhol style.
-Arrange and photograph a collection of objects that express who you are. At least one object must be unique to you (something that no one else could have - maybe a piece of your own art).
-Take a photo of a part of you (other than your face and keep it clean) that could be identified as you. One example is a photo of just your hands.
3) Daily Documentary
Students will select a subject (any person or animal that they are likely to see every day for one month). The student should begin by explaining their assignment to his/her chosen subject (or owned of) and requesting permission to photograph him/her for the project. The subject should understand that they will need to write a very short comment for each photo (to say what is happening in the picture). In the case that a pet is selected as the subject the student or the owner of the pet would need to personify for the subject. The date and time of each photo should be recorded and maybe written on the back of the photo. Of course most digital cameras do this automatically, but be sure to double check that it is working and accurate. At the end of the month the photos and comments will be printed and displayed together in some way. They could be arranged onto a poster board or bulletin board, organized into a small photo album, made into an i-Movie
or put into a PowerPoint presentation.
Students will select a work of art (something other than a photo) that contains people, animals or both. They will then recruit the help of others (people, dolls, toys, etc.) to recreate the scene in the selected artwork. Some objects may be substituted for similar items but photographer created backdrops and props should be kept to a minimum. Once the scene has been recreated (as best as possible) the student will take a photo of the scene. Several photos may need to be taken to get facial expressions and gestures correct.
Students will use the "Photo Booth" program and a web cam to create a series of distorted images of themselves. After experimenting with all of the distorting tools the student will choose his/her favorite tool and create another short series (maybe five images) using just that tool. These images could then be organized into PowerPoint, i-Movie or slide show presentations and saved to a CD. This activity also fits into the self-portrait project "Me, Myself and I".
Well, that's about all I have for now. I am still brainstorming for more ideas; I'll try to send them to the list when I think them up. Sorry this message is so long, but hopefully it is full of ideas that you can use. I welcome any comments or advise that you may have regarding these lesson ideas.