Hampstead School / Liane Harris / Visual Literacy activities

Activity: Exhibition Visit – Photographers’ Gallery, Marian Goodman Gallery, Waddington Custot Gallery

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Developing visual literacy through describing and then interpreting a photograph.

Materials needed:

  • PowerPoint
  • Cameras


  • Pre- trip visit to gallery
  • PowerPoint that introduces students to the Galleries and Artists we will be visiting.
  • Create a photo activity relevant to the exhibition and/or course subject

Activity- Reading an image

a) The main activity today was facilitated by Jai Tyler, Education and Projects Organiser at The Photographers’ Gallery.

In pairs (in the education room at The Photographers’ Gallery)-

  • Each pair gets the same photo (that is later found in the actual exhibition at the gallery).
  • Only one person in the pair sees the photo and has to describe it, in as much detail as possible, to their partner
  • The ‘listener’ builds up an image in their mind and compares this to the actual photo once the ‘describer’ is finished.
  • Is it what they imagined?
  • What was difficult and/or easy about this?
  • What were some useful words that were used to describe the photo?

Looking, describing, interpreting and discussing photographs were carried out throughout all 3 gallery visits. How a photo tells a story and how scale has an impact on the way we engage with an image also entered the discussions.

b) Photographic assignment- How can you represent yourself in an unfamiliar environment or one where you feel outside of your comfort zone?

  • Set up a tripod
  • Set camera to shutter priority
  • Use a slow shutter speed

(Students also played around with freezing action/fast shutter speeds)


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