CyberMuse Teachers - Lesson Plans
Photographic Links

Lesson Plan Activity:
Who are you?: Grade 9-12

Summary

Description:

From the outset, photographers have been interested in creating self-portraits. In this activity, the students will create a double self-portrait with mirrors and will use them in a photomontage. In doing so, they will explore their identity and come to understand themselves better. Subsequently, they will write an information label that will explain their choice of materials and the meaning of their image. They will thereby develop their creative and critical skills and their understanding of the importance of light and composition in photography.

Theory:

The student will demonstrate his understanding of the theme of the self-portrait in the history of photography by identifying techniques used and key periods in the history of photography, and by referring to artists to support his statements.

Creation:

Using the photomontage technique, the student will produce a self-portrait that reflects his experiences, his interests and his social and cultural environment.

Analysis:

The student will analyze the function of a self-portrait by doing research and writing texts as part of the process of creation and will make connections between art and identity.

Cross Curriculum Links:

This lesson also explores the following subject areas: history and English.

Duration:

4 to 6 40-minute sessions

Look & Discuss

Discuss in class the meaning and importance of the self-portrait in art. Since the Renaissance, artists have had to meet the challenge of the self-portrait. A self-portrait is the work of an artist who has chosen himself as his subject. According to tradition, artists drew and painted themselves while looking in a mirror. A self-portrait implies that a person is looking at himself from his own point of view, showing what he looks like while revealing some features of his own personality. The medium of photography raised questions about the concepts of author, artist and subject. How have photographers in different eras dealt with the self-portrait while using the qualities inherent in the medium of photography?

With the help of Ilse Bing?s Self-Portrait in Mirrors and various other paintings and photographs, encourage the students to think about the broad themes of the portrait and self-portrait in photography and to create their own work in that genre.

Materials

    • Cameras (35 mm, Polaroid or digital)
    • Photocopier
    • Mirrors
    • Magazines, newspapers and other materials for the collage
    • Scissors
    • Glue sticks
    • Bristol board or mats as supports for the collage and to create information labels

Preparation Tasks

  • Assemble the necessary materials ahead of time.
  • Since the students will be working on the theme of identity, ask them to bring in their own magazines or other material that they can use in their collages.

Create

Create Activity Image 1

Ask your students to find, on the Internet or in the library, self-portraits of artists that they think are interesting and can identify with. This research will serve to inspire your students.

Create Activity Image 2

Encourage your students to think carefully about the way they want to represent themselves. What should they include in the image to express their interests and identity? To help them choose, suggest that they keep a journal in which they note down their thoughts day to day, as a means of developing their individuality and their inner life. Then ask them to work with mirrors to create a double self-portrait.

Create Activity Image 3

Once the photographs have been printed, encourage the students to create a collage by combining their photo with illustrations from magazines and newspapers and other personal items such as concert tickets, negatives, etc.

Create Activity Image 4

When the collage is finished, ask the students to write an information label for their work, which will contain relevant information about the artist (name, country of origin, date of birth) and information about the work (date of creation, size, materials used). In addition, the students will write a short text about their work.

Take it Further

To delve more deeply into the theme of the self-portrait, the students will use the final composition to create another self-portrait; this time, it will be their own satirical photomontage. They will make a ?paper puppet? in the style of the work of John Heartfield on Hitler in the course plan. Using photographs from magazines or their own photographs, the students will create a ridiculous character with a body, legs and arms different from its head. Another possibility would be to change the parts of the face (eyes, nose, mouth). What are the differences between this work and the more serious self-portrait? The students will then write a short text explaining the ideas in the second self-portrait. What are the elements revealed by the second self-portrait that were not present in the first? The students can then compare the two self-portraits.

Online Resources

Assessment Guide

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Theory Criterion
How does the student show his understanding of the theme of the self-portrait in the history of photography?

The student identifies some techniques used and rarely supports his statements. He has a limited understanding of the concepts related to the self-portrait in photography.

The student identifies the techniques used and refers to artists? works to support his statements. He understands the concepts related to the self-portrait in photography.

The student identifies the techniques used and refers to artists? works to support his statements. He has mastered the concepts related to the self-portrait in photography.

Creation Criterion
How did the student produce his self-portrait?

During the process of creation, the student identified few or no ideas and the resulting work does not reflect what the student wished to create.

During the process of creation, the student identified some key ideas about his experiences, interests and social and cultural environment. These key ideas guided his choices during the creation of the photomontage.

During the process of creation, the student identified his key ideas about his experiences, interests and social and cultural environment and his comments were complex. These key ideas guided his choices during the creation of the photomontage.

Analysis Criterion
How does the student analyze the function of a self-portrait and does he establish connections between art and identity?

The student spent little or no time writing about his ideas and designing his project. He briefly analyzed some self-portraits by photographers.

How does the student analyze the function of a self-portrait and does he establish connections between art and identity? The student spent little or no time writing about his ideas and designing his project. He briefly analyzed some self-portraits by photographers. The student kept a log of his ideas, formulated some concepts to be used in his creative project, and analyzed a variety of self-portraits by photographers. The student kept a complete log of his ideas, established the concepts he would use in his creative project, and analyzed and critiqued a variety of self-portraits by photographers.

The student kept a complete log of his ideas, established the concepts he would use in his creative project, and analyzed and critiqued a variety of self-portraits by photographers.