Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ways to Create: Double Portraits

I've been working with elementary-aged kids for over five and a half years now, and one of my favorite parts of my job is being able to do creative projects with them. I have seen kids bloom through art projects and I love to connect with them on that creative level! I don't believe in micromanaging their art to get a specific outcome - so most of my projects are based on giving them a fun new way to create and then getting out of their way. I thought I'd start sharing some of those projects here with you. Many of them are messy, none of the products from these projects will look alike, and all of them will get kids creating in whatever way is right for them!
So this first project is not messy at all, actually - and for a few reasons, it's a great first project to do with a new group of kids, or with a kid who is insecure about making art. First of all, older kids love the look of this project and are always excited to try it. By the time they hit 5th or 6th grade, a lot of children have really internalized that they're "not good" at art or drawing, and so they have a hard time loosening up and letting their creativity flow. There's nothing to draw in this project, and with a digital camera, they can try as many times as they want or the shot that they're hoping for. Giving them a way to be immediately successful and to create something "cool" lets them open up and just have fun!

When I did this project with my afterschool kids, we spent a few minutes first talking about framing a shot and picking two distinct places in that framed shot where they wanted to pose. I did need to remind them several times to hold the camera steady in one spot once they'd chosen their shot; moving the camera means that the photos won't line up exactly when they try and meld them into one image. We brainstormed ideas for poses, then I gave them the cameras and let them have at it!

I was lucky enough to have access to a photo printer, so once they were done taking pictures, they chose the two they wanted to use and I printed them. Kids then cropped them however they liked and glued them together:
This was such a fun project to do; aside from the creative aspects, it led to a lot of great conversations about different sides of people's personalities, and a lot of admiration of each other's work. They were so proud of what they had made.

Let me know if you try this with your kids; I'd love to see your projects!

all photos shown in this post are used with permission

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