This unit has students compare different approaches to a specific historical period using primary sources on each of the three iconic images selected. The three images are: Dorothea Lange's
, and William Powell Frith's
. Students will discuss these works and then determine whether and how they reveal, criticize or report the events that they depict. Artists and historians interpret historical events. I would like my students to understand that this interpretation is a construction.
Students should be able to question the accuracy of artwork and determine how the image is biased and, what message the artist is trying to convey. This unit can be used for a photography course, art history course, U.S. history course or even an English course studying literature of the Great Depression or by Dickens. These images do not have to be used consecutively, nor do they have to build on each other. They can be used individually at different points in the curriculum, if it is set up chronologically.
(Recommended for Art and Art History, grades 9-12)