Place and Imagination

Having the children draw their favorite places before photographing has led me to a knotty problem. How do you photograph some of the more imaginative places? Stella and Lila's favorite place, for instance, contain multiple points of view (Inside and outside, upstairs and downstairs. Not to mention the image of the Sabot Dragon next to the swings. There is already quite a bit of debate about whether the Dragon (who appears at our school in the Springtime) is real or not, but how can we get a photo of him in the Winter?

Both Henry and Ainsley show interiors and exteriors of our two school buildings. Perhaps these images can be done with a collage technique.

However, Abel's drawings will require something more like the building of a stage set. This picture depicts Benjamin with 3 heads, 38 snowballs with faces falling all around him. Abel has drawn the snowballs, and is in the process of hanging them from strings. I hope soon the boys can solve the problem of the three heads!


  1. What about combining the photos and drawn representations collage style?
    Or put cut out drawings in the place and then take the photo?
    Your project on space has given me a new lens on our environment (in and out), creating new thoughts, conversation, ideas and changes.

  2. What an amazing challenge they present you!

    I'm thinking maybe we don't do enough straight-ahead drawing in class. Most of my kids would love a project like this, but I always have a few who will complain that they simply "can't" draw whatever it is they're expected to draw. Do you ever run into this? What do you do about it?

  3. At the beginning of the year I tell the kids that "can't" is a bad word, that it's like a swear word in the studio. We then talk about the alternative...Can you help me? This is hard I don't know what to do, Ive never done this before, how do I do it? Along with that, take a long time to help children become observant and learn to express their ideas with their pens. Ongoing, all the time. Experiment with different lines, so they are comfortable. Materials such as clipboards, papers in all sizes, variety of drawing implements easy to access and organized in an appealing way.Take paper and pens on a walk, on a fieldtrip. When it is the school culture, it becomes something they just do. It's so empowering for them.

  4. I love Marla's idea about cutting out parts of the drawing and putting them in the photo. If we ever get a whole project group at school on the same day (including me), I will try it. Lots of germs going around right now (-:

    and..I think we draw so much at the preschool that it is just a thing we do, a way we communicate, so I don't get much of "I can't". I do see children who get stuck because of perfectionism or fear of failure, and I show them things like how artists sometimes work in studies, doing a series of drawings to get things the way they like.

  5. I almost said that drawing is part of our school culture just now...

  6. Thanks for the tips! As I suspected, it sounds like I'm not giving them enough opportunities to just draw. I tend to get caught up in the big, wild, messy, full body art type projects.

    I did have one boy a couple years ago who was somewhere nearer the autism end of the spectrum than most kids, who would regularly claim he couldn't draw his picture. One time, we were working on pictures based on completing the sentence, "What if . . ." He was trying to draw, "What if one were two." Brilliant concept, but drawing it? His brain kept thinking of things that were almost impossible to conceive of, let alone draw!

  7. You had a real conceptual artist on your hands! I so enjoy the unique thinkers...sometimes the two year olds have ideas that blow my mind


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