“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” — Steve McCurry
When we wrapped up our focus on drawing during week eight of remote learning, it was time for something completely different. Photography. Specifically, a look at photographic composition based on the work of photographer Steve McCurry. I chose Steve’s work for us to study because his photographs take us all around the world. Having been quarantined for over two months due to Covid-19, during a spring with a lot of rain, I was feeling as if we all would benefit from a change of scenery.
Personally, I take a lot of photos of the birds who frequent our many bird feeders. I wasn’t sure what my students regularly photographed, if they photographed, so the assignment was to take photos around the home, yard, or neighborhood:
📷MUST: Watch the video which explains the lesson.
📷Once you’ve watched the video, take a journey with your iPad, photographing things that interest you, that you’re curious about, that you enjoy. You are free to choose your own subjects to photograph, although some of you might want to take pictures:
- From a bird’s eye view
- From an ant’s eye view
- Close up
- Of a person
- Of an animal
- Of a quiet outdoor scene
📷Once you’ve taken 30 or so photos, open the editing tools in the Photos app. Crop them as needed to make them look good. Use the enhance wand if you’d like. Don’t overuse the filters and make them look too funky. We’re going for clear, well lighted photos.
📷Once edited, look through the photos seeking to find the Compositional Elements from the video:
1. Rule of Thirds
2. Leading Lines
3. Diagonal Lines
5. Figure to Ground
6. Fill the Frame
7. Center Dominant eye
8. Patterns and Repetition
📷Choose six photos and label them with the Compositional Elements that apply, using the text mark-up tool in the editing platform of the Photos app.
My students have iPads as we are a 1:1 school, so cameras were readily on hand. We are also a Google Suite school, so all instruction and turning in of assignments is through Google Classroom. I had shown my students how to use the mark-up tool in the Photos app on the iPad to add text to a photo for a few earlier remote learning assignments, so they were all set with that.
During live sessions on Google Meet that week, we looked at Steve McCurry’s Curated Collections on his website. The landing page features his most recent curated collection and you can see the others by clicking “older posts” at the bottom. I captured one very rewarding session with fifth grade student, Alyssa, in this video:
The kids did a great job with this project, so the next week assignment (Week 10 Remote Learning) was to present their photographs with an Adobe Spark Page. Here are the Google Classroom instructions:
🖼MUST: Watch the video which explains the lesson.
🖼Once you’ve watched the video, delete the captions from the 6 photos you turned in last week. If you didn’t do the photography part, it’s not too late. See the assignment “Photographic Composition” below in the class stream.
🖼Open/Download Adobe Spark Page to your iPad and open.
1. Title with your first name and last initial
2. Cover photo
3. Your 6 photos in a photo grid.
4. Artist statement as caption to your photo grid.
5. Final photo with/without caption.
🖼Generate a link to your project and copy.
🖼Upload link to this assignment.
And right away, the Spark Pages started coming in. The week after they had been submitted, I uploaded the links to a Padlet.
I could have had the kids upload to padlet, but we had already included a lot of new technologies, and I was afraid the additional upload would have been too much. I love seeing them all in one place. I hope you’ll take a look through the pages and I hope you enjoy them!