Ansel Adams was a photographer most famous for his magnificent California nature pictures. However, during World War II, Adams surprised the art world when he traveled to the Japanese concentration camp in Manzanar, California. Here he photographed many of the American families imprisoned there, documenting the hardships and positive spirit of these brave Americans. I believe the pictures from Manzanar are among Adams' best work.
Adams' Manzanar photographs can inspire children to see how powerful photography can be.
How can children be inspired by Adams portraits?
One idea is to encourage children to express themselves through portrait photography. In the page below, second grade children chose, completely on their own, how they wished to be photographed: how to pose themselves, what props if any they might like to include, and also titled their portraits -- all as a way of expressing themselves and their current interests or emotions.
The most successful part of this project was seeing inside children in a different way than I usually saw them. I learned much about children who did not necessarily wish to express themselves through words. I was surprised on many levels -- surprised, delighted, and moved.
For this project, I handled the digital camera and took the pictures, though children could also take on this part of the projects. Children came into the photo area alone and assumed their pose, having previously thought it over (and some practiced). I snapped the picture, and later each child was able to view the picture on the computer where they chose a title and talked a little about it if they chose.
I recommend you explore portrait photography with your kids, inspired by Ansel Adams. There's more to the photo than meets the eye.
More information about Ansel Adams. Wonderful display of his nature photos.