In this lesson, students will explore a visual story of the past 365 days and reflect on the power of photojournalism. Source: New York Times
In this lesson, you will explore the visual story of 2021 and reflect on the power of photojournalism. In Going Further activities, we invite you to analyze and interpret a meaningful photograph from the Times collection and to curate a “Year in Pictures” for your own life.
What is the story of 2021?
Before looking at the collection of photographs from the past year, brainstorm a list of images, sounds, words and artifacts that come to mind when you think about the events of the past year. What pictures are related to the world, what pictures are related to your country?
Then, reflect on your list: What do you notice? What big themes and ideas emerge?
Questions for Writing and Discussion
At the photos then answer the following questions.
(Note: There are many ways to explore the collection. You might scroll through quickly and then return to look more closely at the images that stood out. Or you might work with a group to examine a single month and share highlights with the class.)
1. Reflect on the photo collection as a whole: What emotions and feelings did the images evoke for you? Taken as a whole, what story do these images tell about 2021? How is this story similar to or different from the drawing you created in the warm-up activity?
2. Respond to the power of individual images: Which images from the collection stand out to you most and why? Which ones do you think best capture the year’s noteworthy moments? Are there any events that you think are missing? If so, which ones and why?
3. Discuss a caption or quotation.
Analyze and interpret a photograph.
Choose one photograph in the collection that you found particularly informative, surprising or affecting. As you look closely, respond to questions adapted from our What’s Going On in This Picture? feature:
What is going on in this picture?
What do you see that makes you say that?
What more can you find?
Then dig a little deeper:
What do you notice about the composition, colors, objects and people in the photo?
Why did this photo stand out to you? What do you find intriguing or moving about it?
How does the photograph make you feel? How does it resonate with your own life and experiences?
What challenges do you think the photographer faced in capturing the picture?