Photographs are literally and figuratively a snapshot of the past. Yet they are far from an objective record of historical truth, and the viewer must examine what he or she sees from every angle. Did the people in the photo know they were being captured on film? Is it a posed or a candid shot? Was it used to promote an issue publicly or to preserve a private moment? What events preceded and followed the taking of this picture? What does the background or setting reveal about the thousand words this picture may be able to convey about the past? How might a photograph be misleading? What information do photos give us and what do they conceal?
The role of women as both subjects and objects of photographs indicates a great deal about womens societal role. In what types of photos have women appeared most often? How were pictures of women received and perceived? Under what circumstances did women control the lens through which they were seen? How did women photographers differ in their use of the medium to capture of the essence of their time?
- Identify details
- Interpret images
FOR THE TEACHER
1. Discuss with your students the nature and value of photographs as an historical source.
2. Have students bring in a photograph that is important to them.
3. Have students complete Section 1 of the Student Activity Sheet and discuss their results.
4. Provide students with a photograph from the Jewish Womens Archive collection.
5. Have students complete Section 2 of the Student Activity Sheet and discuss their observations.
6. Provide students with background information on this photograph and have them complete Section 3 of the Student Activity Sheet.
7. For more specific questions, look at Discuss This Document in the individual documents.
8. Discuss students responses.
9. If time permits, have students do the follow-up activities in Section 4 of the Student Activity Sheet.