Staging a Historic Event

Activity Steps:

Research, restage, and photograph a historic event. Then, write a short paper explaining your research process. Last, present your photograph and its caption to the class.

1. Look closely:
Explore the works of Jeff Wall online. Be sure to click on all images, read all documents, watch the videos, and look closely at the works of art.
2. Research:
Revisit Jeff Wall's photograph Dead Troops Talk. Does this image look strangely familiar? What does it remind you of? What historic event do you think is being portrayed here?
3. Get Focused:
Research a historic event. (Your teacher may specify a particular time period on which you should focus.) Take notes while you are reading. Be sure to write down the main ideas. These notes will help you to compose your paper. Also, remember your paper must be in your own words. Be sure to address the following:
  1. Why was the event significant?
  2. Where did it take place?
  3. What happened there?
  4. Who were the key people in this event?
4. Outline:
Organize your notes into a coherent, linear outline. This will be the structure upon which you build your paper.
5. Write:
Write your paper. Your paper should be approximately one to two pages long.
6. Select:
Decide which scene from this event you would like to stage and photograph. Create a list of props you will need and a rough sketch of what your scene will look like. Gather your props.
7. Photograph:
Set up your scene and photograph it. You may take more than one photograph and select the one you like the most to present to the class.
8. Express:
Write a historic caption to describe your photo.
9. Present:
Share your photograph with the class or do a multimedia 'report' on your project.
10. Reflect:
In your journal, reflect on what you learned through this process. Now that you have completed this activity, do you think your photograph captured the essence of the event you researched? Why or why not? How is it 'objective'? How is it an interpretation? Be sure to explain your thinking.