Teaching with Contemporary Art

Shooting in Broad Daylight


Many teachers I met over the summer had some connection to teaching photography or working with a variety of students who are photographers (for example, in an AP Studio Art class). During a few conversations the subject of Art21’s developing collection of featured photographers came up, so the purpose of this week’s TWCA column is to highlight various Art21 artists that allow students both traditional and non-traditional approaches to taking pictures.

Some photographers, like Robert Adams and Gabriel Orozco walking with his camera, give students the chance to see photographers who inform their work through discovery and re-discovery  of the landscape, be it beautiful, surprising or desolate. Others like Laurie Simmons (who clearly says she is an artist who uses the camera simply as a tool) and Eleanor Antin meticulously set up their photographs, arranging the compositions and designing the space in particular ways with models, props and even stagehands. Then there are portrait photographers, to use the term loosely, such as Oliver Herring and Sally Mann, who create more than a representation of the person photographed through particular interaction with the model(s).

Juxtaposing these pairings, or across these pairings, can give student photographers a chance to look into how a camera in the hands of an artist with a patient and experimental eye can stretch common themes and subject matter- making viewers look again.

Have any of these artists, or other Art21 artists who use photography in their art, influenced your work or the work of your students? Please share with us by posting a comment and even links to images…

Have a good start to the new school year!