Photo Analysis Guide

OBSERVATION...

What I See

  1. Describe exactly what you see in this photograph. Your description should help someone who cannot see the image to visualize what you are seeing.

    • What people and objects do you see in this photograph?
    • How are the people dressed?
    • What is happening in this photograph?
    • Is it posed or candid?

  2. When was this photograph taken? What is the season?
  3. Where was this photograph taken? What is the setting?
  4. Complete this sentence. I see ….. and it makes me think of ….

INTERPRETATION...

What I infer

  1. Why was this photograph taken?
  2. What is interesting or surprising about the photograph?
  3. What is unique about this image that the photographer wanted to capture?
  4. Why did this photograph survive?
  5. Do you think this photograph is a legitimate historical document?
  6. Does the photograph accurately reflect anything about a way of life during this historical period? What do you know about this time period?
  7. What uses might have been made of this photograph during its initial existence?
  8. What can you conclude from what you see?

RESEARCH...

What I want to investigate

  1. Compose research questions that need further investigation based on your observation and interpretation of this photograph.
*Questions adapted from a list written by Loren Horton, former
historian with the State Historical Society of Iowa, and from worksheets on the American Memories collection.