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Body Language


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Keywords: Photography
Subject(s): Art
Grades 9 through 12
School: Augsburg Fairview Academy, Minneapolis, MN
Planned By: Emily Gannon
Original Author: Emily Gannon, Minneapolis
The purpose of this lesson is to experiment with recording body language and emotions.
During the 5 week lesson the students will learn the basics of making a formal photographic portrait, and practice working as a team of directors, photographers, and models. Each group will need a digital camera, memory card, tripod and battery charger.

On the first day of the lesson the students will be learn the parts of the camera, types of shots, angles, and different ways to create formal portraits. After the informational presentation they will be shown numerous examples of portraits.
The students will be working in seven teams of three; one person in each group will take on different roles, including director, photographer, and model. As a director, the student has to pose the model by giving them specific directions about body language and facial expressions. The photographer’s main job is to watch the action through the camera’s viewfinder, frame the model, choose a camera angle, and capture the image. The photographer is also responsible for using various objects and papers to interfere with the lighting. The model’s task is to listen, follow directions, and be aware of his or her body language and facial expressions.
Later, we will go through student examples and explain how to use transparencies to create shadows and incorporate text. The students will take some time to figure out their roles, check out digital cameras and tripods, and begin brainstorming how to get 12 “keepers”.

At the end of the 5 weeks the instructor and students will be giving feedback to each group on positive and negative results in a critique setting. The students will have another class period to retake pictures based off of the feedback from the critique.


Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The instructor could incorporate aspects of mathematics by measuring the distance from the photographer to the model, calculate angles and work with lighting.
Materials: Whiteboards, Digital Cameras, Point and Shoot, Yearbook, Digital SLR, Portable, Projector Screens, Art Tools, Camera/Video Accessories, Camera Bags, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Batteries, Memory Cards, CDs and DVDs, Cables, Slideshow, Autism