How to look at a photograph Using what we know to make informed predictions

John Berger, in his book About Looking, writes, “...photographs do not in themselves preserve meaning. They offer appearances—with all the credibility and gravity we normally lend to appearances – prised (forced) away from their meaning. Meaning is the result of understanding functions.”
In the following pages you will nd photographs without captions. (If you are viewing the When Human- ity Fails exhibition) you will notice that photographs included in the Toolbox are very similar to those that you will see in the When Human- ity Fails exhibit. When closely analyzing each one of the photographs, ask yourself some of the ques- tions that follow. Then write your own caption for the photographs.


Where was the photo taken?

Was it taken indoors or outdoors?

Does the background of the photo offer any clues in determining the setting of the photo?

Revealing the Legitimate Caption

What would you suggest as the caption for the photo?


Who or what is the person or object being photographed?

Clothing, setting and body language can often determine country of origin and social or political status.

In the next section, notice clothing and badges to determine if the subject in the photo is Jewish or not.


Who do you think took the picture?

Does the perspective of the photo give you any knowledge as to who may have taken it?

Does the subject seem aware that the photo is being taken?

Has anything been deliberately included or omitted from the photo?


Created with images by gavilla - "photo camera old camera" • WikiImages - "fluzeugtraeger capsize bombing" • WikiImages - "war dropship normandy" • Nicolas 11mo - "Chinese poverty" • ptwo - "3070" • Mampu - "drunk man street" • roger_alcantara - "Yoyong"

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