Photograph Viewing Guide
Authentic Inquiry vs. Exploitation:
Many of the images are gruesome pictures of violence and death. How do we best use such photographs, if we use them at all?
- Main idea: teachers should de-emphasize visceral reactions to horrible pictures of atrocities, and emphasize inquiry into motivation and intent. For example: why did some human beings do this to others, and how did the perpetrators justify their actions?
- From the Jewish Holocaust curriculum from the National Holocaust museum – to show gory photographs is to exploit the dead. How would their families feel?
- What do you see, what do you think about what you see, what do you need to know to understand the picture better?
- People: what are they wearing, what are they carrying, what are they doing, what do their facial expressions tell us?
- Background: what is on the wall, on the ground, in the background?
- Physical structures
Reading Like a Historian/Stanford History Education Group framework
- Contextualizing – asking students to locate the photograph in time and place and understand how these factors shape its content
- When and where was the photograph taken?
- What was different then?
- What was the same?
- How might the circumstances in which the photograph was taken affect its content?
2. Sourcing – asking students to consider who took the photograph as well as the circumstances of its taking
- what was the photographer’s perspective
- why, when and where was the photograph taken
- is the photograph reliable?
Personalizing and making historical photographs relevant to students
- How can non-Central-American origin students being to see themselves in the pictures?
- Have you and your family experienced anything similar to the individuals and families you see in the pictures?
- How can students of Central-American and other Hispanic/Latino heritage see themselves in the pictures? Have you and your family experienced anything similar to the individuals and families in the pictures?