Photo essays – thematic groups of curated and captioned photographs – help us to see and understand a past which has vanished. These examples use pictures from HistoryMiami’s collections to tell stories about Miami and South Florida.
Before selecting from the various photo essay topics one must plan the shots which are required to be taken for the essay. One must envisage each shot of the story; one should create a shot list as each photograph of a photo essay works as a paragraph. Before finalizing the photo essay topic one must list the types of shots that would be required to weave the story for the essay. This helps one in determining the viability of the topics.
A host of student photo essays are archived at this site:
Having kids take on a scientific phenomenon like clouds and use photographs to show what they know is powerful. I think that a scientific problem is a better subject. Water in the community, flooding, trash, weeds, land use, traffic flow, or energy efficiency could all be great topics. In my city we just had a huge 4th of July celebration in a local park. Over 50,000 people left behind piles of trash. One student with a camera would have seen that event differently with before, during and after photos. I am guessing that this student could make some amazing suggestions of where to place trash receptacles to prevent the problem next year. This observation and evidence technique could work for trash around the school or in any area of the city. Time magazine ran an online photo essay on trash in Italy a while back. It is a good example of illustrating a problem with photos.