Tag Archives: ownership

Readying for our annual Renaissance #Photoshop project

I had a great planning meeting with Katelin O’Hare (maternity leave replacement for Eleana Pellegrino) about our upcoming Renaissance Photoshop project. We are going to use a couple of specific images from particular websites to introduce a discussion of “image manipulation throughout the ages.”

Essentially, every image/portrait/painting/photograph is manipulated to some extent, as in the portrait of Abraham Lincoln (below) pairing his head with John Calhoun’s body:

Even one of the earliest daguerreotypes is of a busy urban street scene rendered almost sleepy-looking since the long exposure cancelled the pedestrian and carriage traffic save for the lone shoe-shine guy in the bottom left:

I love these composites of historical scenes blended with modern photos:

(Taken from http://www.petapixel.com/2013/04/02/photos-of-modern-day-locations-blended-with-shots-of-major-historical-events)

I also want to share the 1982 scandal of National Geographic moving the pyramids to fit in the vertical frame of their cover:

and this composite from the LA Times:

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 11.42.08 AM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

In 6th Art, starting our Renaissance Photoshop Project with Yoshiko Maruiwa.

Today, I began the annual Renaissance Photoshop Project with Yoshiko Maruiwa, my favorite 6th grade Art teacher at The School at Columbia University. As part of the 6th grade integrated study of Florence and the Renaissance in English, Social Studies, Science, Art, Music, and Wellness, Yoshiko and I team-teach this Photoshop unit where students locate a Renaissance painting and layer themselves into it as either the main character or an additional character.

Here are the directions for our 3-day unit:

1. We talk about media literacy. Today, one girl said it was like “reading pictures.” I liked that a lot. As a group, we defined media as the plural of medium and gave examples of both:

Media = how to convey or communicate information or mass communication, the news are described as “the media” and can share information using a variety of means (television, radio, internet, etc…)

Medium = how something is communicated or expressed: a drawing, painting, watercolor, television, email, texting, movies, music, commercial, song, newspaper, internet, magazine

2. We watch the Evolution video from Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.

3. We talk about how easy it is to use technology to manipulate an image and why. (Marketing!)

4. We do a brief tour of the Google Art Project. (http://googleartproject.com)

With a team of Googlers working across many product areas we are able to harness the best of Google to power the Art Project experience. Few people will ever be lucky enough to be able to visit every museum or see every work of art they’re interested in but now many more can enjoy over 30 000 works of art from sculpture to architecture and drawings and explore over 150 collections from 40 countries, all in one place.

5. We talk about Artstor and it’s subscription service which Columbia University pays for. We look at the Permitted and Prohibited uses. I remind them that it is super important to read the terms and conditions of a website so that they avoid doing anything illegal or unethical (whether intentionally or accidentally). Everything they do online public, permanent, and traceable. (http://artstor.org)

The ARTstor Digital Library is a nonprofit resource that provides more than one million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences with an accessible suite of software tools for teaching and research. Our community-built collections comprise contributions from outstanding international museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, and artists and artists’ estates.

6. Students choose a Renaissance painting from Artstor that they will manipulate. The directions for the project are here.

7. We talk about ownership of Art. Who owns the Mona Lisa? Yoshiko made a simple slideshow about variations of the Mona Lisa here. We discuss copyright and fair use and discuss Shepard Fairey’s Obama Hope painting. My lesson plan is here.


Filed under Uncategorized

Setting up 6th grade Digital Art Portfolios on our #Elgg social network


Today, I’m with 6th grade, co-teaching with the lovely and amazing 6th grade teacher/artist, Yoshiko Maruiwa.

Like the other members of our Art Department, Yoshiko encourages and inspires her students to produce, critique, and reflect upon art. Students bring home many physical artifacts, and today we set up a structure of digital pages to showcase, share, define, appreciate, and network about each other’s art on our in-house Social network, powered by Elgg (http://elgg.org). Elgg is open-source and relatively easy to maintain, especially as my server manager, Cristina Martinez, does all the back-end work. (Twitter: @cmfinlay)

Students created an overarching “Digital Art Portfolio” main page and are responsible for adding sub-pages for each assignment that will include an Artist’s Statement and a digital photo of each piece.

There is a section to comment on every page, and we talk about appropriate comments being ones that are constructive and inspire conversation:
Not so great – “I like your painting!”
Great – “I like your use of color and symmetry.”
Really great – “I like how you painted your guitar. Do you play any other instruments?”

Yoshiko and I took photos of the artworks for this project, but for later assignments, the kids will take their own photos and load these images onto a shared album on our in-house photo server; It is called The Gallery and powered by Drupal (http://drupal.org).

I ask students to point the URL of their images rather than download/upload to reinforce citing and not copying works from the web. We talked about ownership: Who owns the photo of their painting? Me, the school, the student? They painted the picture, I took the photo with a school camera, and I posted the image onto our school server. This spawned a quick and mildly interesting discussion, considering my ignorance and my audience.

As I do every time I’m with a class, I totally repeated my mantra that whatever they post online is Public, Permanent, and Traceable, and they should strive to use our technology Academically, Responsibly, and Respectfully.

Now I’d like to get the 7th and 8th grade art teachers on board. I asked Yoshiko to show a sample digital art portfolio to her colleagues at their next department meeting. Fingers crossed.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized