Picture This! Illustrated and Digital Alphabets

Children's Technology and Engineering, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Picture This! Illustrated and Digital Alphabets


summary

"A picture is worth a thousand words." - Frederick Barnard

"You don't take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams

Sometimes we call photographs "pictures" in order to help people understand that we are capturing one moment in time with a camera. There are many different types of cameras available for our use, from disposable to digital. The technical spécifications and techniques used differ with every type of camera you could use. Photographers use various cameras to make ideas come alive in a visually pleasing and artistic format.

William Wegman is a highly acclaimed artist and photographer who incorporates unusual techniques and subject matter to share his whimsical outlook on everyday objects and concepts. Wegman is an artist primarily recognized for his series of photography books, usually involving his Weimeraner dogs in various costumes and poses. Originally trained as a painter, Wegman found success with his dogs in photographs and videos. They have appeared in books, advertisements, films, as well as on television programs like Sesame Street. Some of his most memorable pieces of photographic art contain his Weimeraners forming letters in the ABC children's book.

The alphabet is a child's introduction to language. Showing students how to see the alphabet wherever they are opens up a whole new world of possibilities for them. The alphabet can become a drawing, a photograph, a poem, a song, or many other ways to share ideas, thoughts, inventions, and innovations. The connections between the alphabet, art, and technology are endless. This lesson can allow a student to explore the alphabet and create a piece of art using digital photography and other forms of communication technology.

student introduction

Wlliam Wegman and his amazing Weimeraner dogs take the alphabet and transform it in his book all about the ABCs. Let's recite and then write the alphabet together. How many of you have pets who like to have their photographs taken? How many of you like to have your photograph taken? How do you think digital cameras work? We're going to explore using art, drawing, and digital photography to express ourselves and share the alphabet in unique ways.

design brief

Suggested Grade Levels/Ages: K-3, Ages 5-8

After reading William Wegman's book, ABC, together and writing the alphabet, research Mr. Wegman's artwork online. Then, search for the "Alphabet in Nature" or "Illustrated Names."

Research famous photographers, like Ansel Adams or William Wegman, for the type of photographs they take, how they started taking photographs, what awards they have won, what subjects they commonly photograph, and other unusual facts about their lives and art.

* Research illustrated names and the techniques artists use to create illustrations.

* Using your research, create your own illustrated name.

* Research unique photography techniques and subjects. Complete a worksheet or have a discussion about what you've found.

*Divide into teams and plan to take photographs that represent different letters of the alphabet. …

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