Sterling Worrell
Photography Teacher

Photography as an instrument of change

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 I have a new HS photo course unit on using photography to institute change (whatever that might look like). I'm wondering if there are any teachers on here that have ideas for project/units on using photography for social justice and/or a tool for change. 

This first go around this year I created a unit called "Walk the Walk" (you know, more than just talking the talk). For the unit the students mind-mapped a concern of their choice and then developed a photographic plan to try to change things for the better.

I would love to hear about lesson plans, online resources, professional photographers who would make good exemplars, etc

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Stacy Wieringa

Posted on 8/2/17 5:05:40 PM Permalink

Something I do is have my students observe and reflect on their surroundings (school and neighborhood.) First we talk about what makes a good photo based on Terry Barrett's book Criticizing Photographs and the denotations and connotations in photographs. We then do a walking tour of our school neighborhood (south Bronx) and we talk about the stereotypes people have about the neighborhood. Then I have students take pictures focusing on the uniqueness and beauty they see and also those things that they would like to see changed. The final photographs can be shared in a number of ways: books, collages, online presentation, critique, etc. As an art teacher I love when the students collage their own photos together to make something new, but small handmade books have also been a powerful way to share their themes surrounding social justice in the neighborhood.

Another project we did is to create handpainted signs with a social justice tag line, and took everyone's picture however they wanted to pose (talking about pose, eye contact, clothing, and background--and how all those things matter for the meaning of the picture.) (We used #IMatter after Michael Brown was shot.)