Thursday, 11 April 2013

lesson idea: photographic collages

It's been a while since we've done a post so I thought I would share a recent photographic collage lesson from one of my A Level Photography classes. It was an enjoyable lesson to teach and the students all got high results from the various techniques and even recorded their creative process into stop animations!
With only 4 college weeks to go until my students exam (how quick does time go!) I needed to find a new photographic technique that would push their practice. I don't know about you but I find when your over the halfway point of projects some students have a tendency to want to 'stick' to one idea. I needed to break away from this quickly and the following activities did just that!

To start the lesson I gave each student a found photograph and told them they had 5 minutes to rip up the image into any shape or size. Once they had destroyed the original image they were then instructed to throw all pieces of the torn photograph into the air and let them land on the paper provided in front of them. All pieces of the photograph were to be glued in their 'fixed' state and upon completion all students were posed with the question 'What have you just made?' Luckily, all my students recognised that they had just made a collage but more importantly the starter activity really got my students thinking (whilst making) which resulted in strong, relevant discussions!

I then did a quick demonstration of each three activities above and placed the students into groups. Our lessons are an hour and a half each so I was fortunate to split each activity into a rotation of twenty minutes which in terms of timing was spot on for each task! The whole point of the lesson was to get students to see their photographs in a different light and I found 20 minutes enabled students to create an experimental outcome that let them just create and not worry about why they were doing it. At the end of each 20 minutes we stopped, looked at work and discussed briefly processes that were working well and what could the next group do differently to improve that task. Whilst each task was underway each group also had an iPad and used the app iMotionHD. iMotion HD is basically a stop-motion app for any ios based system and allows you to record video which is then made into timed stop motion animations. The app is fantastic and I love how it records students development as well as allowing them to start viewing their work as moving images!

This lesson will leave each student with a minimum of 4 photographic collages and 2 animated videos which shows that all students can make a number of strong imagery quickly, whilst exploring new, innovative technology that records and documents their process! You can view some of our students recordings here or for alternate photographic collage lesson ideas The Photographers' Gallery 'Perspectives on Collage' teacher exhibition pack is fab!

Do you use iMotion HD? If so we'd love to hear from you to share different approaches to the software and see your students photographic collages!
- Kirsty

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