Sunday, February 5, 2012

Airbrushing Back As Early As 1800's? Incredible, But TRUE!

If historical photos are used in your classes from time to time, you will want to save this site as a favorite. PHOTO MANIPULATION has been around for over 150 years. Even President Lincoln's iconic pose seen in every US history textbook was a composite of Lincoln’s head and the Southern politician John Calhoun’s body!

Why would there be a need to alter photographs? THAT is a question which could be used in many subject areas. If history, why did Stalin airbrush his enemies out of the photograph in this collection? Imagine students grappling with this one as they search for evidence to support their claims.

Then there is the composite picture of Oprah Winfrey on the body of Ann Margaret. Neither actress approved of this action. So students in an art class or a US history class might, in groups, generate reasons why this was done. Was Oprah "too fat" or "not beautiful enough" according to outdated standards? What should the two famous women have done once this fraud was discovered? Why?

Then there is the Elle magazine cover picture in January 2011 photo of actress and former Miss World Aishwanya Rai. Her skin was lightened to the point of making her appear white. Miss Rai was angered by the action done without her knowledge. Students may wonder if this was an act of racism (white skin is more attractive than brown). Is this how a magazine sells more issues? How did Elle readers react to this in 2011? Is this still done in advertising in this day and age? Let students talk. Have a recorder (someone taking notes) in each group so that a full class discussion can follow.

In any of these scenarios, students could generate poster presentations to share their take on the techniques, editorials, persuasion essays, etc. With all the pre-project/essay work, your ELLs would generate quality end products:)



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