MIT Visualizing Cultures
MIT Visualizing Cultures
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John Thomson's China
Curriculum by Lynn Parisi

With digital photography and innovative image-editing technology widely available, students are likely to be well aware that photographs are not necessarily accurate records of events or people. They may not be aware that this was true long before computers allowed us to easily revise photographic records. In these lessons, students explore different ways that photography can be used to reflect the point-of-view of an author—in this case, the photographer himself. While photographs are, like artwork and the written word, valuable primary sources, they reflect a process of selection and conscious construction; the story they tell must be read critically.

Photography lends itself to many methods for imparting point-of-view. In the three related lessons of this Visualizing Cultures unit, students consider several ways that the construction of photographs and the compilation of photo collections reflect point-of-view and/or work together to tell a story of the photographer’s creation.

Table of Contents

Lesson 01:
Part one: Using the Five C's to Analyze Photography

Part two: Constructing a Photograph

Lesson 02:
Creating Point-of-View and Narrative Using Juxtaposition

Lesson 03:
Point-of-View: Designing and Compiling a Photo Collection

Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2012 Visualizing Cultures