Teaching Materials - Exercise

Retracing the old campus

Name of Artist Educator: Lai Lon Hin
Excercise Category: Photographer's eye, Technical exercise, Visual storytelling

Learn the change of the surroundings and the unfamiliar faces who also spent their youth here.

Concept / Inspiration:

Learn the change of the surroundings and the unfamiliar faces who also spent their youth here.

Students spend most of their time at school. Through old photos, students can understand the past of this space: the change of the surroundings and the unfamiliar faces who also spent their youth here. By re-presenting the old photos, old stories re-emerge.


Students are asked to take photos that recreate the scenes of the old snapshots. This exercise allows them to look at things closely, and pick up skills needed to shoot a photo, such as composition, space, lighting and the use of lens.

Materials / Equipment:

  • Camera
  • Printed
  • old photos of the school
  • Props (prepared by students at the scene)


In the school

Workshop Description:

Duration: 80 minutes

  1. Instructor searches for old photos of past school events, such as flag raising, award presentation, or activities held by school clubs, select and print some of them.
  2. Divide students into four groups. Within one group, each student takes up a role: photographer, director, actor or prop master.
  3. Each group is given an old photo to imitate. Students have to recreate the scenario based on the same perspective and things that actually happened. Students must pay attention to details, for example, the angle, number of participants, posture, facial expression, objects, and colours, etc.
  4. Lastly, instructor would discuss with students the outcome. Instructor will comment on the composition and image. For example, by comparing “Image1” and “Image2”, it is apparent that more floor should be covered by the lens: the floor took up around 1/3 of the background in the original photo. Instructor could point out that more floor can be included in the photo by shooting from a higher angle.

【Image 1】(original):

【Image 2】(student’s replicate):

Expected Outcome:

As students are familiar with the school settings, they can concentrate on the composition of the image. They will come to know that where they stand or how high they hold the camera affect a great deal the composition of the photo: things change when the lens changes. Therefore, they have to pay attention to every single detail. They should not shoot casually like they do with the camera phone.

Actual Outcome:

During class:

(1) Playground
Many students gave their comments, from how the camera was placed to the posture and facial expression of the actor. In order to recreate the old photos as accurately as possible, some student suggested having another classmate to play the protagonist (with no glasses and bangs).

(2) Hall
During the photo shoot, instructor reminded students where they should place the chairs and where the photographer should stand. They would begin to know the things they should look out for in a shoot; they got to know how to shoot in general. Each time students took a photo, instructor would have them discuss and compare it with the original; instructor would also give comments and suggestions for further improvements.


Original [1]:

Student’s replicate:

Original [2]:

Student’s replicate:

Original [3]:

Student’s replicate:

Reference Materials:

Online Resources
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