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Lens Blog

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This post was originally published on the HS Bits Blog, which was active from 2008-2013.

The New York Times has announced a new photograph blog, named "Lens." From their inaugural May 15, 2009 post:

Lens will be a showcase for the work of Times photographers, but it will also highlight the best images from other newspapers, magazines, news organizations and picture agencies, and from around the Web. It will point readers in the direction of important books, galleries and museum exhibitions. And it will draw on The Times's own pictorial archive, numbering in the millions of images and going back to the early 20th century.

Here is the associated lesson plan, which focuses on such iconic images from American history as the sailor bending a girl back for a kiss in Times Square on V-J day, Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother," and JFK Jr's poignant salute to his father's funeral procession.

I've used this worksheet, developed from various materials, to examine photographs and other visuals with my students. You can easily substitute almost any strong photographic image for Bruce Davidson's "Young Interracial Couple" and any photo essay for the TIME Magazine one on MLK and the Civil Rights Movement.

With a solid discussion of what photographs both reveal and conceal, how they capture and frame reality, you could ask students to write to the 2001 AP Language argument question based on a quotation from Susan Sontag's On Photography.