Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Philosophical photos - 1.

This will be a series of posts that will collect slowly over time. The idea is to collect photographs... from Fotografiska (Museum of Photography) here in Stockholm, and sometimes maybe my own photographs too...

The idea is to use the photographs to stimulate dialogues with children... so these posts are not going to be long... just some images and some questions to get dialogues started.

If you are in the Stockholm region, then you could always bring your children to Fotografiska and explore the photographs that way... of coming with young children with the aim to talk about a few of the images... then it can be an idea to visit first as an educator and discover some of the photos that you think would interest your children the most and encourage the best dialogue... and it is also good to check which photos to avoid... some exhibitions are not suitable for young children... or include images that some might find frightening, not because they are scary per se but there is a child with a particular fear... for instance when my children were younger they went through a short phase where clouds and owls were scary... so I would not have taken them to see photos of those and expect a deep meaningful dialogue... children need to feel comfortable to participate. You will know your children best and know what will work (or what to avoid).

This post has three photographs - two from the Viviane Sassen exhibition and one from the Irving Penn exhibition.

Viviane Sassen
Why do you think there is a hole there?
Who or what made the hole? How do you know?
Where does the hole lead to?
Would you want to go into this hole?
What do you think is at the bottom of the hole?
What would you do with what you found there?

activities to proceed.
Dig their own holes... how deep can they go? What shape hole can they make. Is it easier to dig in the earth or sand? Maybe a treasure hunt if the children mention treasure? Explore animals that live in holes or dig holes. Explore different utensils for digging (even tools not designed for digging). The answers the children give will direct how you can porceed.

Viviane Sassen
Who left their shoes here?
Why did they leave them?
Why are they left like that?
Do you think they will come back for the shoes?

activities to proceed
get the children to create art with their shoes... arrange them and then take photographs.
mix all their shoes up... can they put them back into pairs... can they find their own again.
feel the difference between sun heated ground and shade
make footprint paintings... this can be done barefoot or with shoes on
explore the sound of shoes on ground... on wood, on carpet, in a space that echoes etc... use different kinds of shoes so that they will make different sounds, record the sounds and then let the children later try and match the sound of the shoe with the actual shoe.
design activities to meet the answers and thoughts the children have... make up a story together about what happened and illustrate it.

Irving Penn

Why is this person wearing this?
Why is this person only showing his/her nose? (this is a photograph of a man, but it can be interesting to let the children explore and decide themselves if it is male or female, and why the think it is that gender)
Do you think this person is happy or sad? Why? How can you tell?
What colour do you think the nose mask is? Why do you think that?

activities to proceed.
The children make their own nose masks. Take photographs of them. Can they guess who everyone is behind the mask from the photographs? Ask them to have different expressions behind the nose mask... happy, sad angry etc... and see if the other children can guess what it is... does the body give away the language of emotion... or do you need to see the whole face? Maybe the nose is expressive sometimes?
Think about whether or not you are going to let the children choose the colour of the paper... this would make identification easier in one of the above activities... maybe then you could print out photographs in black and white so that the children can see what happens to "their" colour... is it as easy to guess who is who... or what colour is what?
create activities based on the children's reflections.

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