Lesson of the Day: Photos of the Past

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Lesson of the Day: Photos of the Past

3. How do the photos help tell the story? Which photos did you spend the most time with? What drew you to them?

4. What story do the photos tell when looked at together? Glance back at the order of the photos. How does the order work, or not work, to tell the story?

5. Did you have any feelings about any of the photos? What were they? Did they remind you about anything you’ve seen or experienced?

6. Which, if any, photos did you find the most beautiful? The most informative? Both? Consider facial expressions, body movement, clothing, the surroundings or how the people in the photo are interacting with each other (or not).

The articles in “Past Tense” show how archival photographs can be used to tell a story about a specific event, topic, person or place, and show readers a different period in time.

Try making your own photo story about an era of your choice, either using online photo archives or your own family photos. Here’s how:

1. Choose a subject: Think about a theme, topic, person or place from history that you’d like to know more about. For example, the civil rights movement, Halloween or street musicians. If you’re not sure of a topic, try searching online for a time period — like the 1970s — and see what comes up.

2. Then, search the archives: Here are some online collections you might dig through:

3. Find a story: As you look through the archives, begin to zero in on a story you’d like to tell. What patterns, themes, trends or narratives do you see emerging? You might start to limit the search of your topic to a specific time period (such as Halloween in the late 1960s and 1970s), to a specific location or to a specific person.