During my time as Photographer in residence at the Tower of London I have worked with the Education Department on three projects with children and young people from local schools and community groups. Over the next few posts on this blog I want to show some of the images that were made during these projects.
The first project was back in December of last year working with pupils from Evelyn Lowe Primary School. The children visited the Tower for the day and we worked with them looking at how portraits communicate information about the people in them. We looked specifically at images of Henry VIII and other portraits linked to the Tower, we then compared these pictures with contemporary photographic portraits and noticed that the visual language of old paintings are still used in today’s photographs. The children then worked on their ideas for their own portraits, we asked them to imagine that it would be the only picture that would survive into the future – what would you like people to think of you when they found the photograph, how would you like to be remembered?
The pupils understood that historic painted portraits cost a lot of money to make and were usually only of very rich and powerful people. Therefore the artist would often have to be very flattering of his subject if he wanted to work again. With this in mind I said the children could create their image however they wanted.
About a week or so after the session at the Tower, I went along to the school (with Alex Drago) to work with the children on their portraits. We created a studio, with lighting and a white backdrop in a spare class room and one by one the pupils came in and told us how they wanted to be photographed. We did several different shots with each child according to the portrait they had planned in the teaching session and then loaded them onto the laptop. The pupil then picked the photograph that they thought matched their original idea best. Below is a selection of the results.