An introductory activity to help students explore what portraits can tell us about people.
- A sheet of randomly selected portraits, with no information about the subject or photographer (choose a variety of ages and backgrounds).
- Strips of paper with different ‘person types’ (details below)
- A hat
Print out multiple copies of the portrait sheet or project it for all to see.
- a) Students work in pairs or small groups.
They are asked to:
- Look at each portrait and write down a list of things the portrait might tell them about the subject.
- A few examples might be useful to get them started: How old are they, what is their job, where do they live?
- Students spend a few minutes on each portrait, writing down us much information as possible.
- Students then share back to the whole group and discuss the difference on how groups read each image.
- b) Pairs or groups are given a camera.
- Each groups selects a ‘person type’ from the hat
- They must create a portrait inspired by this, considering things such as body language, facial expressions, framing and composition.
- Person types can be as playful as you like. Examples: president, clown, criminal, computer nerd, ballet dancer, chef, nurse, watch maker.
- Once a group have created a portrait, they can swap their ‘person type with another’.
- The session ends by each group sharing their portraits with another group or to the whole class.