Beach Umbrella
Photographer unknown

Austin/Thompson Collection

Strategy 1: Decide what you're looking at.
This photograph was purchased in a large lot from eBay. It is a family snapshot, part of a group of photographs of a family we have not been able to identify. From the internal evidence, it was taken in the 1960s.(See strategy 5.)

Strategy 2: Determine the purpose and the audience.
Who do you think took the picture? Probably a family member.
Who do you think the picture was taken for? Who looked at it? Probably family and friends
Why do you think the photograph was taken? To record a family event in order to remember it. To send or show to family and friends.

Strategy 3: Look for bias.
Do you think there was any bias in the creation of this photograph? If so, what was it? The photographer probably wanted to show the children as happy.

Strategy 4: Examine closely the source itself.
What is the background of the picture?

What do you notice about the toys in the picture?
(The toys are all "boys' toys.")

Do you think the boy is happy?

Do you think the girl is happy?
(Be sure to accept and encourage different interpretations of her expression and posture.)

Do you think you can tell anything about these children and their relationship from this one picture?

Imagine what the next photograph taken might show.

When do you think this photograph was taken?
(Judging from the children's clothing and the toys, it was taken in the 1960s.With younger children, you may have to simply give them this information and explain how you know it.)

Strategy 6: Consider your own role in the interaction.
This is an opportunity to help students become awaye of their own personal and cultural biases and perspectives. Answers to the questions will be highly selective.
Do you have any feelings about these kids?
What do you think the boy is like? Does he remind you of anyone you know? What do you think the girl is like? Does he remind you of anyone you know? How do you think your own feelings and experience affect how you view the subject of the photograph?