Liz Orton / Queens Park Community School / Visual Literacy activities

Activity: Making a Story

making a story

I chose about five different images, again ones which appeared to have a good potential for narrative. I printed them at about 6″ x 8″ in the middle of a blank A3 piece of paper, leaving plenty of white space around the edge.  I gave each pupil one of the pictures. I asked them to fill the white space using drawings or words to think beyond the frame. I invited them to do this by first considering a close-up picture of an olympic diver. We used this image to think about two different aspects of a photograph:

i. The space created by the frame (if the diver had been photographed using a wide angle it would have revealed the whole context. This would have been a very different picture.)

ii. The timing of the photograph (the picture would have been empty if the photographer hadn’t achieved split second timing).

We took these ideas of space and time to think about the story around the image on the A3 paper:

– think about the space beyond the frame. What might be happening that we cannot see? Are there other people? What is the wider environment? What might be happening that can help explain the part of the scene that we can see?

– think about the photograph in relation to time. What might have happened 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day before and after the photograph was shot.

Pupils filled the white space with key words and sentences based on the above ideas.


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