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Photography and Visual Literacy


See also:  Help Students Close Read Iconic ImagesSee, Think, Wonder

2023 Photos of
The Year
Can A Picture Change The World?; Weekly Feature:
What’s Going On In This Picture?
Photos That
Changed The World
Importance of Visual Literacy
In K-12 Education
Top 50 Photo Blogs NYPL Picture Collection 9/11 Iconic Images  Images of War Media magazines
The Best of Photojournalism Have You Read A
Good Picture Lately?
After a Picture From the Gulf,
Thousands of Words
Images of the  Civil Rights Movement Semiotics/Signs

“Most of us are bombarded by persuasive imagery while not exactly schooled in visual literacy a lot of this messaging skips right past the messaging filter and goes directly into our heads.” (Michael Shaw, founder of “Reading The Pictures” formerly Bag New Notes)

Every day, we see and are exposed to hundreds perhaps thousands of images that pass through our radar screens.  Unfortunately, not many of us know how to “read images.”

Many of our students don’t question media: they believe everything they see–including digitally altered images seen in the media.

One of the ways to teach critical thinking and “media literacy” is to start with the still image.  Because of the Internet, it is easier than ever to access these images. Here are some recommended sites:

LENS, NYT photojournalism blog Read/Write/Web
Jamie McKenzie’s recommendations Awesome Stories Images
LIFE magazine archives March Of Time newsreel archives
EduPic; Pics4Learning;
free graphics/photos
Picturing the Past (1840-1900)
National Geographic Pictures of the Year International
The New Eyes Project National Archives
Picturing America click: photography changes everything
Panoramio: Photos of The World Internet Archive: Movie Archive
Masters of Photography New York Times Image Archive

Your school’s arts educator is a perfect partner in understanding the concepts of visual literacy. Your students can start with paintings and then move onto other images, such as photographs.

Because mobile phones now incorporate cameras, and due to the size and cost of digital cameras, it is easier than ever for students to take photographs and incorporate images into their projects.

This web site is a resource and is designed to provide the K-12 educator ideas, readings, lesson plans and other valuable tools for classroom instruction.

Click on the links in the left hand column to access those resources.

For additional resources, see Vis Lit & 21st Century Skills wiki
Knowledge Quest Visual Literacy Issue
Vis Lit Resources on the Web
Visual Literacy Internet Resources (ALA)
Recent Trends in Media Use in Schools
Visual resources online: Digital images of primary materials on public Web sites (C&RL News, May 2008)


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