Artwork Title: Photographers

Name of Artist: Joseph Ng
School: CHIJ Toa Payoh Secondary School

This lesson is suitable for students in: Lower Secondary (all streams)

1. Introduction 

The purpose of this unit of lesson is to encourage students to observe the world around them through the use of image recording devices (DSLR, Compact Digital Cameras or Smartphone Cameras). The focus is on capturing Lines, Shapes & Colours around them. The lesson can be conducted within the school vicinity and within the lesson time. Each student should have a recording device.

Elegant Art Task: Produce a series of images that depict 1) lines, 2) shapes and 3) colours in interesting ways. Each image should be accompanied by a short annotation explaining the intent, focus and composition techniques used. 

2. How the lesson might unfold. 

  1. Show many photographic images explaining the types of lines, shapes & colours and composition techniques. There are many works of photographers available in the internet such as Bae Bien-u (South Korea).
  2. Advise the students to capture the subject by exploring different angles and composition techniques. Teachers have to move out with the students to assist and provide immediate feedback. Encourage them to look out for the unusual spots in the school environment that others are not looking at. 
  3. Students will be exploring the school compound in pairs or threes.

3. Practical tips for teachers. For example:

You can use smartphone cameras (as most students own one each), DSLR, compact digital cameras 

  1. Plan your lesson into 3 parts:
    • Lesson 1 – Introduction to Photography & Composition, Lines & Shapes, Practical Session
    • Lesson 2 – Colours & Practical Session; Critique/Review, and re-shoots
    • Lesson 3 – Critique/Review, and re-shoots
  2. Some students may only take one shot. Teachers need to encourage students to explore more possibilities rather than too fixated on one possibility only. Most importantly, the school needs to be informed of the activities so that the students will not be penalized for using smartphone cameras during curriculum time. In addition, advise students to avoid hanging around classroom areas where they become the distractions to on-going lessons. The teacher needs to set ground rules before sending the students out.
  3. Teachers can use  references on the internet, and books on photographic composition techniques to show give ideas of interesting compositions, and how they might approach a scene. Discuss how a 16:9, 4:3, or 1:1 format affects the photographer, or influences the way the picture can be displayed. 

4. Reflection

The success of this lesson depends on:

The availability of the image recording devices

One to one availability of recording devices is preferred. Sharing equipment will hinder students working on their tasks individually. 

Submission procedure

  1. Students can print out the images, paste them on A4 papers and have the annotation manually written on the papers. 
  2. Alternatively, you can get students to submit digitally through a range of apps available. One good web-based app I discovered after the unit was completed is Adobe Slate. The app is simple to set up and user-friendly. Students can showcase their works and add the annotation below the image. 

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