Photography and Children: Reflections on Reading

19 Apr

On 13/4/11 we were issued with the journals ‘Photography in Pink Classrooms’ by Liz Ashburn and ‘Download’: ‘Postcards Home’ Contemporary Art and the New Technology in the Primary School’ by Steve Herne in relation to looking at photography and children.

The main thing I considered from Ashburn’s journal in relation to teaching is how we can use photography as a tool to help children share, understand, accept and appreciate themselves and others (2007). She suggest a photographic topic where students capture images of their own significant belongings in order to share their life with their peer and states that, “if students are familiar and relaxed with each other, topics based on each student’s photographic exploration of their environment. such as their bedroom, their friends, their social environment, give them freedom to reveal their sexuality, if they choose to do so” (Ashburn, 2007, p. 36). I think what is particularly important for the primary child is the feeling of being comfortable and accepted for who you are through such photographic, discussion sharing activities.

Ashburn also made me think about most teacher’s assumptions of students’ heterosexuality in the curriculum (2007). This reminded me of some of the book resources Stonewall showed us at their seminar which represent a variety of different families increasing children’s inclusive experiences of family. Another photographic topic could also be undertaken with children sharing pictures of who is in their family.

Such opportunities for children to explore different family dynamics and themselves as individuals through other images and photography help them to consider sexuality as a whole as “something we can create” on our own which can lead to “new forms of relationships, new forms of love and new forms of creation” (Foucault cited in Ashburn, 2007, p. 34).

Photography is not just as a tool for children’s self exploration, it can also be used to help them explore the world around them. Projects such as ‘Postcards Home’ – where children took photos in their home environment and attached relevant captions- meant that the children “developed visual and media literacy and understood that their art production could draw on their own lived experience and explore ideas and feelings of personal significance” (Herne, 2005, p.18). Therefore projects like this are not only significant in making art and photography consciously relevant in the children’s lives; they also offer them a new way to look at and explore a variety of aspects in their own life (Herne, 2005). Children are also able see how different people’s interpretations affect the communication of these issues through their art; encouraging them to explore what they can do (i.e. captions) to further communicate what they mean (Herne, 2005).


Reference List

Ashburn, L. (2007) ‘Photography in Pink Classrooms’. The Author Journal Compilation. NSEAD/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Herne, S. (2005) ‘Download’: ‘Postcards Home’ Contemporary Art and New Technology in the Primary School’. JADE, issue 24, no. 1. NSEAD

image credit


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