Monday, November 23, 2009

Life magazine's online photo archive

Before the age of cell phone cameras, You Tube, and Google Images, America received news and event images through weekly magazines. One of the must-see publications was Life magazine.  They captured the heroes, villains and events that shaped history.

These images are now available on the newly launched Here is an excerpt from their site:

Welcome to, the largest, most amazing collection of professional photography on the Web.heroes, our stars, our celebrations and heartbreak, the events etched in our memory and the small moments that make life sweet. When you find a photo you like, you'll be able to share it, print it, and sometimes even buy it.

LIFE and Getty Images, the two most recognized names in photography, have joined forces to provide you instant access to millions of breathtaking photographs — for free. not only lets you wander through the legendary LIFE and Getty archives, but with more than 3,000 new photos added every day, it also gives you the best pictures of the people and places shaping our world now.

These are the photos you won’t forget. Taken by the world’s top photographers and curated by LIFE editors, they tell the story of our times — our

Edutopia Magazine recenlty had a great article on "Teaching with Primary Souces". Specifically they spoke about using images. They recommend the following:

  1. Select Photographs - Use the custom search tool on to hunt for images by topic or photographer.

  2. Research the techniques

  3. The Library of Congress's American Memory Website ( provides lesson plans and question guides to help students think critically when examining photos.

  4. They also have self directed study modules on teaching with primary sources (

  5. Develop a list of questions based on the following topics:

  • What is the main subject of the photo

  • Time: what might have happened just after or before the photo was taken.

  • Framing: What would be visible if you could move the camera left or right, up or down.

  • Vantage Point: How far was photographer from the images seen in the picture?

  • Dominance: What is the first thing you notice in the picture?

  • Original Purpose: How was the photograph first seen or used? How is the photograph regarded today?

  • Intention: What do you think the photographer was trying to express through the image?

"When you teach students how to be critical viewers, they learn how to elevate personal opinions into authorative opinions",  Elizabeth Lay, retired English teacher from Oakland, California

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