Lesson Two: Photographic Developments
Ask students to get into four groups. In this lesson, they try putting the photographs in
- to obtain historical data
- to consider the
relationships between technology and society
Give each group copies of all
four Smithsonian photographs or display the photographs so that the whole class
can see them. Tell the class that each group should try to put the photographs
in chronological order. Encourage students to use any element of the image as
evidence, including the general look of the photograph.
Ask each group to write its
sequence on the board. In a class discussion, explore the reasons for any
differences of opinion.
After the discussion, give
each group copies of images of the kinds of cameras
used to take the photographs: Children, Street, Horse, and Girls.
Does this new information
change anyone's mind about the chronological order? Why or why not? Does the Girls camera tell us anything? Does it seem more like a
modern camera than the others? Students might speculate that Horse is a
series of frames from a movie, and that it is therefore the latest of the
images. Do the Horse cameras change this idea?
Lead the class in a discussion of larger questions:
- What are some of the ways that
changes in technology might have changed the purposes of photography?
What are some of the ways that
these changes might have changed life in the nineteenth century?
Do you think people merely
responded to the advances in photography, or do you think that a need for new
technology led to the advances?
Encourage students to think
about how the technology has continued to change. Students who note the
relatively small size of the GirlsKodak, for instance, might see it as part of an
ongoing trend. (Some students might have heard that scientists are developing,
for medical purposes, a camera pill!) What might be the reasons for the
trend? Are there similar trends in other kinds of technology?