Analyzing Photographs: From Theory to Practice

This lesson for middle school students is designed to help them understand the principles and elements of composition – Balance. Emphasis. Movement. Unity. and Repetition – and use them in their own images.

From a historic perspective, photographs help students understand milestones of history, such as the Holocaust, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement. Powerful images can inform English class discussions of literary themes of rebellion vs. conformity, innocence vs. experience, racism, and national identity. In science classrooms, students could study photographs depicting the impact of humans on the environment. And in math class, students could learn about proportion, symmetry, and basic geometry concepts.