Picture analysis activities


Consider this image. How does it make you feel? What impressions do you get?


Now consider this image. How does this make you feel?

It is strange how light, colour and texture can affect our mood. This photo was tinted in emerald, darkened and constrasted. It gives you the impression of a haunted graveyard or something quite different from the image above.

I've been playing around with how we can use images to stimulate thinking. As Thimbault and Walbert (n.d.) pointed out activities like this help children think about what they see and provide explanations. The first activity on this page was about reading images critically. The second activity was about understanding how images affect emotions. For children to be visually literate they need to understand the impressions images have and how they can discern these.
Because we are accustomed to thinking a certain way or interpretting things a certain way it is easy to misinterpret images (Moodle, 2011). Having children analyse pictures helps them develop new knowledge pathways and patterns of thinking (Moodle, 2011). For example if a child sees a new animal that looks like a dog they will think it is a dog. Only when new knowledge is given that the animal is instead a fox does their knowledge deepen. Thus they know for next time how to discern a fox from a dog.
The activities above are quite simple and only emphasise critical thinking in pictures. A lot more can be done with images, for example the 'see think wonder' routine outlined by The Harvard Project (n.d) on the Visible Thinking website.

An interesting website can be found at http://www.pbs.org/. In the search space search for 'mind illusions. On this page as some interesting visual activities can be found showing how the brain can be tricked into misinterpretting images.