CyberMuse Teachers - Lesson Plans
Photographic Links

Lesson Plan Activity:
Urban Panorama: Grade 7-8

Summary

Description:

The students will discover their environment through the lens of a camera. They will learn the importance of framing and composition in photography and will explore concepts of time and space by assembling photographs on the theme of the city.

Theory:

The students will discover their environment through the lens of a camera. They will learn the importance of framing and composition in photography and will explore concepts of time and space by assembling photographs on the theme of the city.

Creation:

The student will use his own photographs to create a collage. The principles of composition (balance, repetition, rhythm, proportion) will guide the photo session and the mounting process to create effects and comment on the students? environment.

Analysis:

The student will identify elements and principles of composition and explain how they are used in his own photographs and those of others. He will analyze the various strategies used to construct the works and their relevance in conveying ideas.

Cross Curriculum Links:

This lesson also explores the following subject areas: science and technology, social studies, English.

Duration:

Three one-hour sessions

  • First session: Comparison of photographs and discussion
  • Second session: Outdoor photography session
  • Third session: Creation of collage and comparison

Look & Discuss

Ask the students to do the lesson plan?s Look & Compare activity individually or as a group. Use the works of Platt D. Babbitt and Edward Burtynsky as a point of departure and initiate a discussion about landscape and the choices a photographer has to make before taking a photograph, such as framing, distance between subject and the camera, depth of field, etc. Is it possible to represent a subject in a single photograph? Is it possible to take photographs that are entirely objective? A photograph presents a specific moment, framed and chosen by the photographer. This aspect of choice is very important because it makes us realize and understand the presence of the photographer behind the camera at a particular time. To prepare the students for the outdoor photography session, have them think about their way of seeing their immediate environment. What aspects of the city do they think are interesting? Disturbing? Would they like to observe a single place from all angles or produce a commentary on recycling, pollution, the passage of time?

After comparing the two landscape photographs in the lesson, the students are asked to think about their environment and how photography can be used to comment on the environment around us.

Materials

    • Cameras and film of your choice, or digital cameras
    • Mayfair stock or mats (black or a variety of colours)
    • Glue
    • Pencils
    • Felt pens

Preparation Tasks

  • Prepare the materials required for the outdoor photo session
  • Cut to the proper size the cardboard or mats to be used as the support for the collage

Create

Create Activity Image 1

Outdoor photography session During the outdoor session, ask your students to identify their subject. The purpose of the activity is to document the subject by creating a panorama consisting of several photographs. A simple way of carrying out the activity is to ask the student to choose and assume a position in front of his subject. The first photo is taken in this position. Then the student remains in the same place, rotates slightly to the right or left and takes another photograph. He continues taking photos until he has rotated 360 degrees around his own axis. These photographs, mounted in a collage, will create a panorama. This method can be adapted according to various needs or to encourage experimentation. For example, the students could divide a skyscraper into several different sections and take multiple photographs that are slightly offset from one another. Once the activity has been completed, the digital photographs are printed or the students develop the film at the photography centre.

Create Activity Image 2

Collage It?s time for collage and creativity! Ask the students to mount the photographs they have taken on a cardboard support to produce a panorama. Each student chooses an interesting way of presenting his photos. Are the links between the photos invisible or obvious? Can repetition of the same element be observed? The students select and assemble their photos according to principles of composition (balance, repetition, rhythm, proportion). If the students wish, they can add text to their collage and thereby emphasize certain aspects of their subject or the process of creation.

Create Activity Image 3

Discussion The group now has a chance to admire the works they have created and to comment on them. Encourage the students to talk about their own works and those of their classmates. What are the differences and similarities between the different subjects chosen and the mounting techniques used?

Take it Further

This activity could be followed by another photo session in which you ask the students to document a subject from all points of view (full face, from above, from below, from the side, etc.).

The students could create a sequence of images to be used to tell a story. Particular objects, either found or brought in by the students, are put in context in the environment to create a narrative. The students could make booklets to present the photographs they have taken.

In small groups, ask the students to create a work exploring the concepts of time and framing. How can they produce an image of the passage of time, the presence of the photographer behind the camera, and the importance of framing, as well as the choices offered to the photographer? For example, the exposure time and the time of day the photograph was taken could be noted on each of the photos in the work.

Online Resources:

Assessment Guide

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Theory Criterion
What is the student?s level of understanding of the elements and principles of composition in photography?

The student identifies few elements and principles of composition in the works studied in class.

The student identifies most of the elements and principles of composition in the works studied in class.

The student identifies all the elements and principles of composition in the works studied in class.

Creation Criterion
How did the student perform the photo session?

The student defined his subject but did not adapt his photo session accordingly.

The student defined his subject and set up his photo session accordingly, using several photographic techniques (for example, points of view, framing).

The student chose a complex subject and defined his photo session and the techniques to be used accordingly.

Creation Criterion
How did the student use the principles of composition in mounting his photographs?

The student consciously used one principle of composition in mounting his photographs

The student consciously used two principles of composition in mounting his photographs.

The student consciously used more than two principles of composition in mounting his photographs.

Analysis Criterion
How does the student formulate his observations on his own work and that of the other students and does he evaluate their relevance to expressing a concept or idea?

The student provides brief interpretations, often related to a value judgment.

The student supports his interpretations by concrete examples from the works and explains in his own way how the elements and principles of composition are used to express a concept or idea.

The student supports his interpretations by concrete examples from the works and abstract concepts. He evaluates accurately how the elements and principles of composition are used and their relevance to expressing a concept or idea.