Liz Orton / Project Diary / Queens Park Community School

Queens Park Community School: Session One

Stimulus Words, Queens Park Community School

Stimulus Words, Queens Park Community School

In week one we focused on a photo dialogue, I lay out 30 images across the classroom tables – landscape, fashion, documentary, portrait, still life, photojournalism, fine art…. I asked half of the 18 pupils to pick an image that interests them. Once they have done this they formed a line on one side of the class, and held up the image up in front of them. I asked the other half of the students to move up and down the line, stopping at the picture that interests them. This way pupils became partners around an image that engages them both. They discussed the image for five minutes preparing three things to say back to the rest of the class. As they fed back we noted down some of the words they were using on the white board to create the beginnings of a visual language resource

We then asked the students to make photographs in response to words.

I prepared a lot of different words which I put in Hat 1 and Hat 2 for a visual treasure hunt in the classroom. Pupils took a word and then photographed it in three different ways without using the zoom. I ask them to practice moving backwards, forwards and side to side as I feel that zoom is the enemy of new photographers. Words in Hat 1 are easily photographed: mainly objects, angles, patterns and colours. This helps pupils look at a familiar space in a new way, more purposefully.  When they have finished taking three photographs they swapped their word with another pupil, and then compared the photographs they have taken. Next they took a word from Hat 2. These are more complicated to photograph:  emotions, abstractions and ideas, such as friendship, contrast, reflection, repetition, glimpse, upside-down.

Pupils reviewed their images on the back of the camera and shared their ‘best shot’ with another pupil explaining their choice.

Written by Liz Orton


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