My grade 9s are currently working on observational drawing. We’ve looked at measuring proportions, value and gradation. Their next task was composition. As a new element to the unit, I got them to independently research “What makes an attractive composition?” during class. The next lesson they shared their findings in small groups and added to their list, with accompanying pictures to illustrate the terms and show correct understanding. Through their research, they discovered framing, balance, leading lines, contrast, rule of thirds, positive/negative space, cropping, amongst others. Obviously, this showcased their knowledge better and I was pleased. What worked even better was the next activity.
The following lesson students were asked to bring a camera. Students were required to apply their knowledge and take pictures within the art room. Most of the objects are mundane, but students were challenged to take close-up pictures applying the concepts they researched. Their drawing task will require this and it is an element they are evaluated on.
Students narrowed down their photos to approximately twenty and printed out contact sheets. Once printed, students teamed up to critique the photos. What I liked was hearing students use the correct terms and really analyse their photos. I’m surprised I’ve never thought of this before. Super simple! I think it will kill the questions I usually get asked every year: “Is this OK?” “Is this composition good?”
RIP. I did the activity along with the students. You can see some of the photos below.