“Best of” Lists: Photos

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It’s no secret how much we love using images to teach students about arguments.  Over the last several months we posted about image analysis, advertisements, and our favorite image resources from the National Archives and Library of Congress. While images can’t replace text, they can engage even the most reluctant students.

We would be remiss in our discussion of annual Best of 2011 lists if we didn’t show you some of the best images of the past year.   Today’s resources will give you a starting point as you look towards implementing image resources in your class

The Big Picture

As a basic classroom resource for teaching students how to annotate images, this photo blog is invaluable.  However, as 2011 comes to a close, they have assembled three different image collections all under the title The Year in Pictures.  You will have to sift through the images in each collection to find useful resources but the time you invest is well worth it.

Time’s Best Photojournalism of 2011

It does seem like we love Time Magazine this week.  We’re okay with that assumption.  While they have a series of great images we’ve listed some of our favorites below along with ideas for classroom use.

“Under the Influence of Just Bieber”

Need a pop culture pick me up?  Using an “iconic” image of Bieber might be a good way to discuss trends in popular culture.

  • What does the image suggest about Bieber and/or pop music stardom?
  • What does the image suggest about culture today?

“Hilary Clinton: the Rise of Smart Power”

You have to admit the image is a good one.  Clinton, in sunglasses and surrounded by a pile of papers, is photographed in the back of a military plane.  The image is stark and a good image to discuss modern politics.

  • Is it important that the image is in black and white?
  • What does the “movement” in the background suggest?
  • What is the significance of the photo’s location?

“The Birds Of Hope: With A Black Hawk Medevac Unit In Afghanistan.”

While there are always a multitude of war images to partner with novels like Catch 22, Slaughterhouse Five, All Quiet on the Western Front, or The Thing They Carried, this image is still a moving resource.  See our posts on war and images to implement this type of resource.

Wall Street Journal, Year in Photos 2011

The WSJ might have the mother of all image sites.  Search by date, category, region, and top rated.  They also have a good video that might be used as an overview to how the “best of” photos are chosen. We’ve chosen three for closer examination.

President Obama shaking the prosthetic hand of Medal of Honor recipient

Remarkable.  Use on its own or partnered with any kind of war literature.

  • What is the effect of an image like this in regards to patriotism?
  • What argument is made via the image about war, technology, and honor?

Robert Peraza at the 9/11 Memorial

Perfect for teaching Bush’s speech at Ground Zero or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

  • What is the argument about grief, family and time?
  • Why is the image so moving if it’s only of one person?  Does it make a difference that he is a father instead of a son?

Soldier Napping in Cargo Hold

This image is a good supplement for any type of war literature.

  • Discuss the importance of amount of luggage vs. one solitary soldier.
  • What is the significance in photographing a soldier asleep?

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