Almost everybody takes photographs or sees them in newspapers, yet photography is hardly ever discussed in school. There are numerous possibilities - and 1998 is the Year of Photography.
Photography as art
1 Can photography be an art? Why is this picture highly regarded? What does it tell you? Look at: (1) the expressions and posture of the figures in the foreground, (2) the many triangle shapes. Is a picture worth a thousand words?
Photography as social history
2 Where do these people live? Look at the landscape (the house set lower than the water level), the clothing, the bleakness. Older photographs are usually black and white, modern ones colour. What difference does this make? Can the camera lie? Bring photos from home, older black and white ones from parents and grandparents, and recent ones. What do the older pictures tell you about life in those days? What will people know about life today if they look at today's pictures in 50 years?
Photography and text
3 (Serious) Write a short actual caption for the Cartier-Bresson picture.
(Humorous) Write two funny speech or thought bubbles showing what the couple are thinking or saying.
Photography and display
4 Make a collage of newspaper or magazine photographs on the same theme: winter, clothes, sport, people, our town, food, Europe. Write and mount a photo story of related pictures with text, using a Polaroid camera if available.
Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University