Photo finish

13th November 1998 at 00:00
THE PHOTO PACK. Photocopiable teacher's booklet with separate photographs and CD-Rom for PC and Macintosh. Kirklees Media Centre, 7 Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1AL. Pounds 10 + Pounds 3 p amp; p

It is an exciting time to be involved with photography in education," states the Introduction to The Photo Pack, a photocopiable resource for use with pupils at key stages 2 to 4.

True enough: the development of computers and digital cameras offers opportunities for image reproduction and manipulation undreamt of only a decade ago. The Photo Pack, though, does less than justice to these possibilities.

It is made up of three main parts: a booklet that gives a potted history of the development of photography, museums and galleries, plus a section on selected photographers complete with 10 postcard-sized reproductions of some of their work. Not available for review was the third element, Nightwalks, a CD-Rom featuring examples of some of the work of contemporary visual artists.

With its crisp pictures and attractive layout, the booklet merits only praise for its appearance. But some of the 10 pictures provided will bemuse rather than inspire many pupils in the target group (which is anyway too wide), and the text, while certainly well-informed, is unlikely to trigger good teaching ideas.

Nor, to be honest, are too many of the suggestions put forward in boxes labelled "Ideas". Several injunctions to "Research the work of . . ." look suspiciously like make-weights, as do tasks like "Analyse the visual language of film stills in magazines and cinemas", all of which lack sufficient detail for genuine usefulness.

The project is improved by an unpretentious final section with some probing questions for pupils on the layout and contents of photographic exhibitions, but this still does not redeem a pack that is stronger on information than on helpfulness.

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