Our Inquiry into Photography

As we begun inquiring into our unit further, we discovered that there are many types of images that communicate meaning to us such as photographs, for example. As a class we have been working on class pet Rocky’s Photo Book since the beginning of this school year. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed having Rocky visit their homes and document his adventures with photos. The children quickly related to this type of images. So we introduced to them our new learning centre: The Photo Studio. We have set it up in a quiet corner of the class with all the needed props to explore photography: dress up corner, mirror, waiting lounge, iPad camera with a stand, backdrop etc. After making essential agreements on the safe use of iPads, children excitedly rushed off to start their new photo experiments.

We quietly observed and were amused by the enthusiastic exploration of selfies that followed. Yet by the end of the day we realised that photo studio was used only for selfies. At the end of the day, during our Reflection on the Day meeting, we have asked the children about their learning experiences in the Photo Studio.

“What is a photo studio?” a voice pipped out.
“Who would like to explain to the class what is a photo studio?” we asked.
A quietness followed. We found ourselves under the gaze of wondering puzzled eyes.

“Hmm. Well, it’s a place where the photographer works.”
“What is a photographer?” followed the question.
“Who is he?”

At this point we realised that our inquiry is taking a very different turn. Children were full of excitement to find out all about photography, photographer and photo studio. So the next day we decided to start off with a discussion on why do people take photographs.

When I go to visit my friend, my friend takes photos and I take photos. (Birci)
We went to Pattaya with my family. Mommy took many pictures. (Win)
I took pictures in Japan. (Tara)
Mommy and Daddy take pictures. (Ryu)
I went to Pattaya and took pictures with Rocky. (Pokpong)
I take photos of my trips. When I go to see my grandpa, I take photos on the airplane. (Robyn)
My papa took pictures of Switzerland, castle, field trips, friends, cousins. (Summer)
Photos on the ship. (Poh)
I use mommy’s camera. We drive the golf cart and I take photos. (Arth)
Mommy and Daddy take pictures of me. (Kajorn)
I take pictures at home with my brother. (Chaosub)
My sister took photo of me and Rocky. (Vincent)
At night I take pictures of the moon. Mommy give camera. (Joon)
With mommy’s iPad I take photos of things in my building. (Nathur)
I like to take class photos. (Ms. Ping)

We came to realisation that we take photographs of special places, things and people we like.
To extend our understanding, I shared the adventures of my son and I at a photo studio. We took some time to look at the photos the photographer took of us and realised that these photos were very different from the ones we usually take with own cameras.

We then went on to watch a video about a photographer and a day at her studio. Children really enjoyed watching other children in the studio pose for pictures and then seeing the actual pictures that were made…

That day our play in the class photo studio was very different. It started off with a couple of friends posing for each other. As time went on, the groups were getting larger and the photographers started to wonder…

Why are the heads of my friends cut off?
How do I fit them all into one picture?
How do I fit the whole body into the picture?
Why is the whole picture blurry?
Why is one person blurry and the rest are fine?
Why is my picture all black? Where are the people?

Each day there were new questions and new explorations as the children gained in their camera skills.

Our photography started to extend even further. The camera became mobile and was used all over the class to capture interesting moments and favourite places. As we browsed through the iPad photo memory at the end of each day, we could see how beautifully each child’s personality was reflected in the photographs they took.

We now came to the point of wanting to see each others photos and enjoying each other’s perspectives.

What’s next?

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