A question of attribution: working with ghetto photographs

Teaching History article

By Ian Phillips, published 21st March 2011

Working with ghetto photographs, images and imagery

Holocaust imagery is very familiar, clichéd even. How can we get pupils thinking about it in novel ways and seeing differently? Phillips reports work completed with his PGCE students, proposes a scaffold of questions with which to deconstruct images and applies it to  archive images and to Hollywood representations. Images are actions - interventions in particular contexts. Phillips' scaffold aims to highlight a number of important features of images in order to draw attention to the tacit or explicit intentions behind them. In what ways does a ghetto image, taken by German soldiers on leave, enact relationships that enabled the Holocaust and how can we help students appreciate this dimension of such photographs? How do Hollywood images of the Holocaust make use of perpetrator photographs and how can we get pupils debating the ethics of representation?...

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