2. Analyzing Photographer's Intention:

When we ask this next set of questions, we put ourselves in the scene of the photograph and in the mind of the photographer. Photographers are like writers--they make decisions about their content in regards to audience and how they want to communicate the information through the image.

Example Photo 2

The photograph above is provided as a reference as you work through application of the following steps.

  • What are your eyes immediately drawn to? In photography, they call these "vectors of attention." Why does the photographer want you to focus here?
  • The photographer has captured a moment in time. What do you think was happening before and after?
  • The photographer took the picture from a specific angle. How would it look from different angles?
  • What if the picture was cropped and framed differently? How would it change the "message" of the photograph?
  • The photographer selected particular elements to include—what didn't he/she include in the photograph?  Why?

This series of questions can provide effective scaffolding for understanding a photograph and you can take it even further. Ask students to consider why the authors of a text have chosen to use the photograph embedded in the reading, or even why they added photographs at all. The connection of the visual to the text can greatly enhance students' reading engagement and comprehension.