Literacy Through Photography®
Lesson 10 :
Self Portrait Shot List
music, money, air, life death, consciousness,
tap, love, flash, light, dark, limo, model, nerd, color,
tone, art, depth, 3-D, frequency
Chris Templonuevo, 6th grader, Deady Middle School
The goal of this lesson is to motivate students to reflect
on who they are and to think of ways to capture that
in a photograph.
- receive a detailed explanation of the Self-portrait
- identify in writing the personal qualities that define
their sense of their selves.
- create a detailed shot list for ten self-portrait
| Key terms & Concepts
- Change the portrait photos on display.
- LTP journals and writing instruments
I. Journal Writing and Brain Drain
- Write a ten minute Brain Drain to answer the questions
"What do I look like? What would I like to look like?
How have I changed over the years?"
- Student readings of Brain Drains
II. Introduction: Self-portrait Photo Assignment
The first roll of film will be used to take self-portraits.
Before clicking the shutter, it is important to think
about who you are and how you will show yourself. Each
self-portrait must tell the viewer something about you
as an individual. How can you describe yourself to a
viewer? You are the director of your picture. What do
you want to express?
NOTE TO TEACHERS:
Discuss the following questions and suggest examples.
Write student answers on board.
- Where do you want to be photographed?
- Consider the significance of a light place, a dark
place, being inside or being outside.
- What do you want to wear?
- What attitude do you want to show?
- What mood do you want to show?
- What would you emphasize to show this mood?
- How would you show this mood through the position
of your body?
- What or whom do you want in the picture with you?
A pet, a picture, a toy, a trophy--- you can include
anything that tells us about you.
- Think about the person deep inside of you that nobody
has seen. Try to make a picture of that person.
- Make a portrait of the person you think everyone
sees most of the time.
- Make a portrait of the person you might to be.
- Make a portrait of the person you don't want to
III. Brainstorm: Approaches to Self-portrait
Two methods are described. Choose the method that best
fits the level of autonomy of your class. The objective
of both methods is to create a LIST of SUBJECTS and
BACKGROUNDS in a mix and match juxtaposition that offers
the photographer possibilities to express his ideas.
Have students list one word responses in their
journals to the following prompts. If you give
them these questions on paper to keep, it will
help them create their shot lists.
- How will you capture yourself in a photograph?
- Do you see yourself mainly in the present,
in the future or in the past?
- How many different jobs do you have? Daughter,
sister, uncle, brother, teacher, student, citizen,
church member, etc.?
- If you were a plant, what kind would you be?
An animal? A color?
- If you were music, what style would you be?
- What would you like the world to know about
you that you have never expressed?
- Do you have a hidden talent or ability that
you would like to reveal?
Prompt the students to define themselves in writing
by asking them to help you define yourself. Have
them list their definitions of themselves in their
church choir member
|Many students were uncomfortable taking pictures
of themselves. This was an opportunity to talk about
why they were uncomfortable. The group gets very
difficult to work with when they are uncomfortable
with the activity or discussion. A good exercise
for this segment is the interviewer/interviewee
role play. Students are put into pairs and asked
to do an in-depth interview and then to either write
an article or report back to the group verbally.
Another slant on the same exercise is to do a talk
show format. Excellent for improving group cohesion
and listening skills.
Terry Weir, School intervention Counselor
Galena Park I.S.D.
IV. Create a Shot List for 10 Self-portraits
You are many people rolled into one, so you will need
to develop a list of roles and important things to include
in each one of your self-portraits.
NOTE TO TEACHERS:
If you used method 2, ask the students to suggest poses
to show who you are from your list. For example: teacher
and her children, teacher at her computer, teacher playing
piano, etc. They can then extrapolate from their own
lists. Make sure to include specific references to the
defining elements of a portrait in each shot. You may
wish to refer to the Shot Checklist in the Appendix.
- What will you wear?
- Where will you pose?
- What emotion will you convey by your facial expression?
- Who or what else is in the picture?
- What will be in the background? Will there be any
- Do you want a head-and-shoulders shot or a full
- Will there be bright light or shadows? Where will
the light come from?
- What do you want the viewer to think of you?
Ask for volunteers to share details of the shot that
expresses their ideal self-portrait.
My 1st period class is usually slow starting,
so I chose to prompt them on the Pre-Writing exercise.
I used chalk talk and wrote one-word descriptions
of myself on the board. I asked them for suggestions
for portrait photos that would show all my different
identities. Then I set them to the task of developing
their own personal shot list. The results were
exciting. They had many unique approaches to showing
who they are and created shot lists that were
useful and provocative.
I took a different approach with my 2nd period
class. They are usually self-starters so, instead
of the prompt with myself as the model, I launched
into a generic "What might a typical student do
to show himself?" They came up with possible photos
of the student with his friends, with a pizza,
in an athletic uniform, with favorite tennis shoes,
etc. The students, for the most part, copied the
typical student shot list from the board and adopted
it as their own. Every time I teach this curriculum
I get a better idea of what to do the next time
Signa Segrest, Language Arts teacher
Deady Middle School