Imaginative representations/explorations of self through photography
Curriculum and Instruction, University of Victoria
Last modified: March 11, 2007
Presentation date: 07/20/2007 1:25 PM in Coast Hotel Bayside Room
Photographic self portraits provide a remarkable window to self understanding and self expression. Over the past ten years I've asked my art education students to engage in a project to create self portraits in our studio environment. Using slide transparencies, the images involve poses, expressions, and even costumes and props of their choosing. The emphasis is not to overtly tell others who they are or who they might like to be, the simple fact of choices they make with so many options leads to representations of at least one story, one aspect of self identity for these multidimensional young people. The students will further manipulate the slides imaginatively, sandwiching the image with another slide or even found objects and transparencies. The results are often quite beautiful and even astonishing. The images give rise to self reflection and conversation during the making of them and after the formal presentation as an exhibition in the dark. The slide photographs are not your usual yearbook portraits. The activity taps into some of the imaginative play of young children, dressing up and becoming 'other'. Howard Gardner has spoken of 'intra-personal intelligence.' This is an enormously important goal for education and imagination is a vehicle for pursuing that end.