Helen Cammock / Hendon School / Visual Literacy activities

TRIP – Camden Arts Centre and The Photographers Gallery



  1. Hannah Collins (Camden Arts Centre)
  2. Shirley Baker: Women and Children; and Loitering Men (The Photographers Gallery)
  3. We Want More (The Photographers Gallery) 

Materials Needed:



WORKSHEETS (Available here)



– Experiencing and engaging with art/photography in the gallery context.

– Developing visual literacy through the gallery experience.


Which of the 5 ways-in does this activity address:


  1. Considering the FORM an image takes.
  2. How you can build/construct an image – introducing idea of COMPOSITION
  3. Thinking conceptually – metaphor, symbolism and meaning – what is the image about, the SUBJECT of the work.
  4. Thinking about the CONTEXT for images/exhibitions/work.
  5. Developing and expressing INITIAL REACTIONS to work in the gallery context.

This was also an introduction to our Five Ways In Visual Literacy Image from the Shirley Baker Exhibition.


What will be the role and responsibilities of the teacher(s) during the session?

  • Supporting all activities in the galleries
  • Organisational responsibility for the logistics of the travel and permissions on the day.



Activity – Step by Step

  • Each of the selected gallery exhibitions introduce both a new and different environment but also three very different exhibitions.


  • Two exhibitions are solo shows whilst one is a group show.


Each of the worksheets asks the students to both FOCUS and RESPOND to the work in each show. They are asked to express their responses to the work as well as undertaking a focussed active viewing and reading exercise in order to offer background to the context, subject and form of the exhibitions.

  • One worksheet has questions that ask the students to read, understand and apply information as well (as view and respond). The other two worksheets ask students to responds to work and articulate their opinions.


  • Split the group in half and with a member of staff supporting each group. Initially look around the exhibitions, discuss and then begin the worksheets.



Brief for students:


Explore each of the exhibitions in your small group and then after initial discussions about the work complete your worksheets.


This can be completed in discussion in a pair or small group but each person should attempt to complete their own worksheets. They will come in handy when we are back at school and feeding back to the rest of the group.


You are asked to think about these 5 concepts as you visit each exhibition.


  • Composition

How the image is constructed – composition combines framing, light, colour and content.


  • Framing

What is in the image and what is excluded from the image. Think carefully about the background and foreground – move things if they distract from your image, add things in if they add to the image. Think about whether the image is a ‘close up’ or ‘wide angle’ shot.  Think about whether you want to shoot straight on or use angles and creat perspective in your image.


  • Colour

Think about how colour affects your image. Colour can be used to add a feeling/atmosphere or the focus point in an image. It can add to the overall meaning conveyed by an image


  • Lighting

Think about how light affects your image – technically –but also conceptually. Lighting can greatly affect feeling or atmosphere in your image. It can also therefore add to the overall meaning conveyed by an image.


  • Content

What the image is about, what the image is conveying.

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