Staging a Historic Event

The Big Idea:

How can a (staged) photograph be used to interpret a historical event?

Activity overview

Canadian photographer Jeff Wall creates large-scale, transparent photographs which are displayed in light boxes. Wall draws inspiration from literature, painting, and the everyday world around him to create large-format photographs. His photographs, which can tell a deeply interesting story, often have a cinematic quality. Wall does not photograph an event as it occurs. Instead, through the process of digital montage, he recreates, reinterprets, and photographs the original scene at a later date.

In this activity you will:

  1. research a historic event
  2. write a paper which reveals your findings about this event
  3. restage a scene from this event
  4. photograph your staged scene
  5. write a historic caption to describe your photo
  6. present your photograph to the class
  7. reflect on what you've learned

You will be graded on:

  1. quality of writing, clear expression of thought, and organization of ideas
  2. quality of research, including accurate facts and dates
  3. quality and craft of photograph
  4. clear use of language in the historic caption
  5. written reflection

New term:

staged photography