Developing Self

Based on the project Blackbirds, featured on the 7th Edition of The Photoville Fence, exhibited in public parks and downtowns across 8 cities in North America.
Lesson Overview

Students will slow down their image-making process and use technology that requires deliberate staging of photographs. Students will explore what it means to be the authors and subjects of artistic and historical study. This project aims to activate and inspire personal agency and self-expression.

Photograph by Idris Solomon

Learning Objectives
  • Articulate the difference between a self-portrait and a selfie
  • Approach portraiture as a process of inquiry and self-exploration
  • Create a final project (portfolio, blog, or collage) that presents a personal history for the given time period
  • Write an artist statement reflecting on this process, from conception to completion

This lesson plan was created during United Photo Industries’ Spring 2019 Teacher Professional Development Day. Many thanks to PhotoWings for supporting UPI Education!


Yolanda Betances, Ken McFarlane, Naomi Martinez, Angelisha Tyus, Helen Leshinsky, and Idris Solomon

Featuring photography by

Idris Solomon

Grade Level

6th – 12th grade


Art, English Language Arts

Time Required

4 class sessions (with an ongoing photo-a-day assignment for a month)

Produced and Facilitated by


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