History of Photography

Activity Steps:

Research the history of photography as well as some of its most significant contributors and present your findings in a short paper and an in-class presentation.

1. Look closely:
Explore the works of Jeff Wall online. Be sure to click on all images, read all documents, watch the videos, and use the zoom tool to look closely at the works of art. Choose one of these works of art and answer the following questions:
  1. Where do you think Wall drew his inspiration for this photograph?
  2. What emotions or story do you think he is trying to communicate to the viewer?
  3. How do you think this photograph is different from a painting? How is it similar?
2. Research:
Review the history books your teacher has provided. Take notes while you are reading. Be sure to only write down the main ideas. Also, remember your paper must be in your own words. You should not simply copy the ideas from the text. Be sure to address the following:
  1. When was photography invented?
  2. Who invented photography?
  3. Name three individuals who contributed significantly to the field of photography and explain how they added to or revolutionized this field.
  4. How did the uses of this medium change over time?
  5. How did the invention of photography change the way people documented and thought about the world around them?
3. Outline:
Organize your notes into a coherent, linear outline. This will be the structure upon which you build your paper.
4. Write:
Write your paper. Your paper should be a minimum of three pages long. Be sure to include information on three photographers and their contributions to the field along with your overview of the history of photography.
5. Prepare:
Select one of the three photographers you wrote about to present to the class. Your presentation will be three to five minutes long and you should come prepared with notes. You should bring in at least one example of the photographer's work. You are welcome to bring in a few examples as long as you stay within your allotted time. Be sure to practice your presentation!
6. Present:
Present information on one of the photographers you studied to the class. Although you may bring your notes with you, be sure you do not simply read from them. Remember: a good presenter makes eye contact and speaks slowly and clearly.
7. Reflect:
In your journal, reflect on what you learned through this process. Now that you have completed this activity, how do you think photography changed history? How did the uses of photography change over time? How do you think the medium will continue to evolve?