The goal of this unit is to introduce students to documentary photography and how it records the life and conditions of individuals and their communities; to help students develop an understanding of how photographs are constructed; and how documentary photography can express a point of view. Documentary photography describes an approach to photography which reveals the subjective nature of an individual or group of people and their place in the larger society. Documentary photographers use their camera to capture moments which can transcend the individual, and speak a universal language of memory and experience. Lewis Hine, one of the more notable and influential documentary photographers at the turn of the century, examined the integration of immigrants into the larger society.
The materials used will be Hine’s photographs
Climbing into the Land of Promise
, Ellis Island, 1905 ;
Looking for Lost Baggage
, Ellis Island (1906) ;
Climbing Into America
Children on Street
, Lower East Side, N.Y.C..
The images can be downloaded and reproduced for classroom use. Photos can be projected onto a screen directly from the computer; downloaded and photocopied onto acetates to be projected for class use; or color photocopied and distributed for each student’s use.
This unit is intended for intermediate fluency ESL students. Research indicates that academic achievement and school completion are significantly enhanced when English language learners are able to use their native language to study academic subjects. Not only does support in the native language facilitate English development, but it also helps academic skills transfer across languages. Students will be encouraged to translate into English the initial verbal reactions to the photographs in the unit. Lessons will later focus on developing vocabulary, written and verbal expression.