Unit IV. Planning a Student Exhibition - Lesson 19: Connecting Image and Text
Photocopy worksheets W and X (one for each student).
In this lesson, students share feedback on each other’s work and prepare their own photographs for display by writing artist statements and finding texts to accompany their works.
We help each other in the creative process through constructive critiques.
Introduction (5 minutes):
- For this lesson, each student should bring in one photograph to include in the class exhibition, slideshow, photo book, or virtual exhibition.
- Ask students to reflect briefly on the picture-taking experience. For example:
- How did it feel to photograph your community?
- What did you learn from it?
- What challenges did you face?
- Explain that during this lesson students will be sharing their photographs with a partner to get feedback. They will also be writing artist statements and finding texts to accompany the work when it is exhibited.
Share and Critique (20 minutes):
Before they begin sharing their work, it is important to make sure students understand the goals and process of a critique. It is not an opportunity for students to insult one another or demean each other’s work. Doing so would violate the Jewish value of kavod (respect). It is, rather, a chance for them to learn about one another’s work in greater depth and offer useful feedback on how the work is perceived. This activity will also help students develop ideas for their artist statements. You might want to demonstrate a positive critique session for the students before they begin.
- Have students form pairs to share the photographs they selected for inclusion in the class exhibition.
- Hand out Worksheet W. In their pairs, one student acts as the artist and the other as the critic. The critic asks the artist about his or her work; then they switch roles. This type of sharing will help students reflect on their own work and give them a chance to see how others view it.
Here are some sample questions the critic can ask (see Worksheet W):
- Do you have a title for your artwork? What is it?
- What message are you trying to convey in this work?
- What kind of mood would you like your audience to feel when they look at it?
- What inspired you to make this piece, besides the fact that it was an assignment?
- If any students have still not decided which photograph to include in the exhibition, they can solicit advice and suggestions from their partners.
Artist Statements (20 minutes):
- Explain that students will write short artist statements to accompany their selected works.
- Have students read the artist statement by Zion Ozeri in Handout X.
- What is the purpose of an artist’s statement?
- What kind of information is included?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Have students write their own artist statements (not more than 1-2 paragraphs) that will accompany their work when it goes on display. Explain that their statements should include the following information:
- the title of the photograph, the year, the city where it was taken, and the name of the photographer
- why they took the photograph and chose it for exhibition
- what they hope to convey through the photograph
- what value or values it represents
- anything else they think is important to share about the photograph or its subjects
Wrap – Up (5 minutes):
- Tell students that they will need to finish and type up their artist statements for homework.
- Explain that each student must also find a text to accompany his or her work when it is exhibited. Let students know that they do not have to choose a “traditional” text (i.e., biblical or rabbinic). They might find appropriate texts that come from secular sources, poetry, song lyrics, political speeches, etc. Either way, students should choose texts that connect with their photographs and with the Jewish values they represent.
Students will finish their artist statements and texts for homework. They will need to submit their final statements, texts, and photographs for exhibition or other presentation.
- If you are mounting a physical exhibition in the school, students will need to bring in printed copies of their statements and texts, as well as appropriately sized prints of their photographs. We recommend 8 x 10, 11 x 14, or 16 x 20. Students can print their photographs at home (depending on their technological capabilities and the quality of their printers) or bring them to a photo store or copy shop to be enlarged and printed. Note that the size of your prints will be influenced by the resolution, or level of detail, of the photographs. An image with greater resolution (300 dpi) will be of higher quality than a photograph with a lower resolution (72 dpi). You can adjust the resolution of digital images in a photography editing program such as Photoshop.
- If you will be creating an online exhibition, photo book, or slide show, students will need to submit their materials to you electronically.