going deep



Change the meaning of an image by adding a title and a story.

Photographers can’t always control what images will ultimately come to mean to different audiences. Where and how they’re published (the context) will have a big influence on how they are interpreted. The same image of say, you eating an ice cream on a hot day (with different captions) could be used to sell toothpaste, sunscreen or life insurance. Information (in this case the picture of you eating) doesn’t come bundled with just one meaning. We have to work it out (interpret it) but most of the time we don’t even think about it, we just ignore the context and absorb everything we’re given.

For example, look at the pictures below and ask yourself the following questions:

How does this picture make you feel? What do you think this picture is about?

Metro Bus Shelter, 7th Street at E Street, Southwest Washington, DC, April 1995, by Joel Sternfeld

Metro Bus Shelter, 7th Street at E Street, Southwest Washington, DC, April 1995, by Joel Sternfeld

For this task, work in a group of  at least three. Each person will start by finding or making an image. Look for images that have a lot of detail. You can find images in magazines, newspapers, or download them from the internet. You will need to print or cut the images out so you can pass the paper around.

Each one of you will pass the image you found to a person in your group so that everybody has an image selected by someone else. Make a title for the image you’ve been given (but keep it a secret), then pass it on again.

During the last round, you will be given an image with a title. Now, everyone writes a caption or short story. The trick is to keep the process a secret!

Finally assemble all of the images with their new titles and stories. Take a picture of each of the projects and post them on Instagram or Flickr with #Phonar and #NationCaption.

In a Nutshell… Explore the way text changes the way we think about images by adding a title and a story/caption.



Search out news headlines from one hundred years ago today and find images from this week’s news to fit with them. Put them together in one pic and share with the #Phonar #NationHeadline.


Doing and thinking tools suggestions are starting points for you to find ways of doing this activity





Would you like a digital badge? Go to Pursuitery.com, open an account, submit a sample of your work and claim your badge!


My work will explore whether:

I understand that information is different to meaning;
I understand that different people might interpret the same information differently, according to their point of view; and
I can work in a team to create co-authored projects.


Post your Images to Instagram or Flickr with # Phonar and #NationCaption