Teaching Photojournalism to Kids

Wounded Soldiers Outdoor Summer Retreat - John Moore, Getty Images

Severely Wounded Soldiers Attend Outdoor Summer Retreat Near Vail, Colorado - John Moore/Getty Images

Last week, I was asked to visit one of our summer school classes and talk about photography. The topic was up to me, so I decided to talk about what I know best – photojournalism.

When I’m out taking pictures, I like to include people in the frame. People just make pictures more interesting. It brings an element of activity and emotion into the scene.

I also especially love the photojournalism style because it captures people “in the moment.” You can catch people’s genuine reactions, whether it’s happiness, sadness, surprise or anger. The activity and emotion represented in candid shots are absorbed by the viewer. Within a second or two, the person viewing the photo can get some sense of a storyline, which is what photojournalism is all about – telling a story through pictures.

I shared this quote from Dorothea Lange with the kids: “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” I think it perfectly explains the goal of all photography: to capture a moment in time in a tangible, visual piece of art.

To show the difference between photos with people and without, I grabbed several pairs of similar pictures – one without people in it and one with people. For example, one was a mountain landscape, and its match was a golfer on a green with a mountain landscape as the backdrop. Then I showed them a few snapshots from award-winning photojournalists and let them guess at the storyline just by looking at what was happening in the picture. The kids definitely enjoyed this exercise, and it was a good backdrop for their photo essay project!

Photojournalism-for-Kids (PowerPoint)

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9 thoughts on “Teaching Photojournalism to Kids

  1. I’m so glad that I stumbled upon your blog about photojournalism for kids! I’m working with 5th graders with this unit and found your presentation very helpful! The kids had some meaningful discussions about your images and discovered how there are many interpretations from media. Thanks!

    • Mary Reid says:

      We love your blog! Marsha and I work with the same kids, and not only are they learning a great deal from it, but so am I! Thanks for posting and what powerful images!

  2. kristie says:

    SO awesome. I am teaching a newspaper workshop this summer for homeschool kids and I’d like to use your powerpoint (with all credit to you) to teach them about the photojournalism aspect. Love how you have the captions in there!

  3. Wayne says:

    I just decided to teach a middle school elective about photojournalism.. this post is exactly what I want to accomplish with this class. Thanks

  4. LitoV. says:

    I was discussing with my principal today about giving our 5th graders something different as for the arts class. We have a big problem among kids about writing. I thought about photojournalism because most kids nowadays have cameras in their cellphones. This is something that they like to do. If they can take pictures responsively of people around them, then they have something to write about. Not only that it teaches them writing but it also teaches them a lot about responsibility, copyright, and respect. Thank you for posting this ppt. Allow me also to ask permission if I could use some slides from this presentation? Thanks.

    • Cassie Dull says:

      Absolutely! I’ve posted the presentation to share with others who are interested in teaching photojournalism to kids. You can use the whole thing or just a few slides. I hope you find it useful.

  5. […] Links (PowerPoint at second […]

  6. […] specialist Cassie Dull has a great powerpoint presentation on teaching photojournalism to kids here. ¬†Encourage kids to find a story in what they see happening in real life and practice capturing […]

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