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Portrait Detectives

Something To Do

Adults

  1. Dig out some old family photos from different periods, e.g. school photos, passports photos, holiday photos, snaps from the war. Think about them as portraits.
     
    • Look for clues in these portraits. Where and when were they taken?
       
    • What can you tell about the people in them? Is there a story behind the portrait? Can you tell anything about the person who took the photograph?
       
    • How have portraits changed over the years? In what ways have they stayed the same? Have the reasons for having a portrait done changed?
       
    • Look at old photos of yourself. Can you tell what you thought about yourself when the photograph was taken? What do you interpret now?

     
  2. Visit The Walker. Explore on your own or join one of our free gallery talks. Details can be found in the what's on section.
     
  3. Create a portrait of yourself or one of your family. You could draw or paint it or you could try one of the following:
     
    • Make your portrait using just items that represent that person. You might want to take a photograph of your creation so you don't have to glue the items in place.
       
    • Use a lamp or a torch to create a shadow and draw the silhouette.

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Children

  1. Look at some old photos of yourself, e.g. school photos, holiday snaps.
     
    • Can you see clues of where and when they were taken? What time of day or year was it?
       
    • Was the portrait made for a special occasion? Is there a story behind the portrait?
       
    • Can you tell who took the photographs?
       
    • What do the photographs say about you? What were you thinking or feeling at the time?

     
  2. Find as many different types of portrait as you can (you might want to ask an adult for permission with this). This might include photographs, stamps, pictures from magazines etc. How are they different? How are they the same?
     
  3. Make a portrait of yourself or someone famous. You can use anything- pencils, plasticine, paint, chalk, collage, pasta etc. You might even want to blow up a balloon and cover it in papier-mache to make a 3D portrait. You need to think about the following:
     
    • How big is your portrait? Is it just your face or your whole body?
       
    • What colours will you use? Why?
       
    • Will you have any 'props' in your portrait? Maybe something to show what your hobbies are, or if you have pets.
       
    • Change one part of your portrait, e.g. your eyebrows. What difference does it make to your appearance or expression?

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