Hear directly from the students in my Digital Design Lab class in a video created totally BY the students!
Read the Press Release Here!
After spending some time reading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and writing a series of vignettes about themselves, 9th grade students were asked to then think of images that show who they are visually. Through a series of skill-building tasks involving using masks and selections, students were asked to connect the strong visual language of Cisneros' book to their own sense of identity in order to make a self portrait. Portraits were then printed with a large format printer and will be installed as a large mural in the public areas of our school. They also wrote an About Me page for their portfolios using their vignette writings and posted their portraits on their portfolios.
Students were also asked to write five sentences in Spanish and "paint" their words using the custom brush tool in Photoshop onto their faces or other areas of the portrait. After watching the incredibly powerful Ted Talk by Angelica Dass of The Humanae Project, we were lucky enough to video conference with her to discuss her work with skin tone, identity and photography in art. Students were asked to consider their skin tone and what it says or does not say about their identity. We explored hex colors and what that means as a tool used in a variety of Adobe/Google applications and discovered that we are so many hex# colors, just on our face and that those colors change due to lighting. We explored lighting for photography and videography and how to use natural lighting in a way that looks great for portraits.
Interestingly, because students faces were eventually replaced by a hex# color and with the custom brush tool words, students were eager to display their work in public. This is in direct contrast to the fear they showed at the beginning of the project when they had to take their own photos and were immediately afraid that others would see their faces in a public space. This project enabled them to show who they were in a completely different manner and all were very proud of their final art pieces.
This project offered an opportunity to explore how we present ourselves to the world photographically without triggering some of that teenage discomfort about how students look in more traditional photographic scenarios. This project was a great marrying of content from all the teachers in Communication studies: Spanish, English and Digital Design.
Lisa Gottfried is a CTE teacher with 20 years experience as CEO of her own Video and Motion Graphics Production house. She currently teaches Intro to Digital Media, Video Production and Game/3D Design. She loves her job and her students!