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What’s Fair? Can You Decide?

For Grades 3–12

Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London

Table of Contents

Featured Works
Objectives
Materials
Start with Homework: Pre-lesson Student Activity
Student Activity: Ethics of Photography
Parallel Issues in Music: Downloading and Sampling
Student Activity
Optional Activity for Grades 8–12
New York State Learning Standards and Core Curriculum
Audio


Featured Works

 
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
(American, born 1953)
Head #6, 2001
Fujicolor Crystal Archive print, edition of 10
48 x 60 inches (121.9 x 152.4 cm)
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 2001
(pictured above and at bottom of page)
Background Information for Educators 

Nikki S. Lee
(Korean, born 1970)
The Hip Hop Project (1), 2001
Chromogenic color print, edition AP2
21 1/4 x 28 inches (54 x 71.1 cm)
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Edmund Hayes Fund, 2002
(pictured at bottom of page)
Background Information for Educators 

Nikki S. Lee
(Korean, born 1970)
The Hispanic Project (1), 1998
Chromogenic color print, edition AP 1/3
21 1/4 x 28 1/2 inches (54 x 72.4 cm)
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Edmund Hayes Fund, 1999
(pictured at bottom of page)
Background Information for Educators

Thomas Ruff
(German, born 1958)
Portrait (R. Eisch), 1999
Color print, edition 4/4
82 5/8 x 65 inches (209.9 x 165.1 cm)
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 2001
(pictured at bottom of page)
Background Information for Educators


Objectives

  • Students will learn the differences among formal portraits, informal portraits, and candid portraits
  • Students will discuss the ethics of using photographs of people in a variety of situations
  • Students will learn about sampling in music
  • Students will discuss the ethics of sampling in different situations
  • Students will compare the ethics of using people’s images in photographs to the ethics of using other people’s original music in popular music (sampling)
  • Students will learn about copyright law
  • Students will compare sampling of music to the scientific concept of DNA
  • Students will discuss the ethics of sharing photographs and music through personal media and social media (See Optional Additional Activity for Grades 8–12)


Materials

  • Images for class display
  • Photographs of people from many sources
  • Examples of music that borrows from other sources (see sampling section of this lesson)
  • Paper and pencils


START WITH HOMEWORK: PRE-LESSON STUDENT ACTIVITY

Have your students bring in photographs of family members, friends, etc. Tell them that ANY photo of a person will do. You may wish to clip photos of people from magazines and/or newspapers.

After photos are submitted, post them in the classroom under the following categories:

FORMAL PORTRAIT: This type of portrait is set up by the photographer in his/her studio. In the studio, the photographer controls the lighting, background, clothing, body position, expression, and type of film (color or black and white) in the photograph. Students will be familiar with the portable studio from having their school portraits taken. Here is where the photographer asks the subject(s) of the photograph to sit in specific places, perhaps to wear specific clothes or colors, and to say "cheese" to get the right expression.

INFORMAL PORTRAIT: When people get together at holidays or special events, they often want group photographs or an informal portrait; however the photographer is usually part of that group. In these situations, the person taking the picture accepts the lighting or background that is available, but might try to position people. For example, they may place the taller people in the back, etc.

CANDID PORTRAIT: This type of portrait is taken when a person is not expecting it. The photographer typically does not ask for the consent of the subject. Sometimes the subject neither sees the photographer nor the camera, nor has any idea that he or she has been photographed!

Discuss the lighting, background, body positions, expressions, and type of film used in the images the class collected. Also discuss the different choices people made about their appearance in each of the categories.

Now encourage your students to look carefully at the photographs from the Gallery’s Collection. Ask them to place these photographs in the categories above. You can share information about the photographers’ methods (follow the “Information for Educators” links above for more information).


STUDENT ACTIVITY: ETHICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Many artists hope to make a living by making art, including photographers. A photographer may be lucky enough to find a dealer – someone who buys and sells art – who is willing to exhibit his/her work. If they are successful, eventually museums might buy their photographs, and as they become even more well-known, a museum might even organize an exhibition of a photographer’s work.

  • Have your class brainstorm other ways photographers can make money (books, magazines, portraits, newspapers, etc.)
  • Divide your students into groups and give them the following scenarios to discuss and share with the class:

1. Your family is getting together for a big reunion. You hate having your picture taken. What are some of the things you do when you spot someone with a camera? When you see the pictures from the reunion, there is a picture of you that you did not even know was taken. How do you feel? What do you do about it?

2. Your friend is a photographer and took a picture of you while you were drinking a glass of milk. To your surprise, you see that picture in a magazine advertisement for milk! How do you feel? What do you do about it?

3. Your friend wanted to take a picture of you because he said he was selling a picture to a collector – someone who buys and collects art – and needed a model. He paid you fifty dollars. One day you visit a famous museum and see your picture in an exhibition. Your friend did not tell you he was making more than one copy. How do you feel? What do you do about it?

4. You see a very large picture of yourself in a museum. You do not know the photographer and had no idea that your picture was taken! How do you feel? What do you do about it?

5. You see a picture of your grandmother, who died last year, in a museum. You do not know who the photographer is or whether he/she knew your grandmother. How do you feel? What do you do about it?

6. Based on the responses to these scenarios, have each student write a list of rules for taking someone’s photograph.

Discussion: What Are the Real Rules?

If a photographer wants to use a model’s picture in his or her work, the model or the model’s parent or guardian can sign a model release that allows his or her likeness to be sold. The release may contain limitations on how the image will be used. A very good site with specifics about model releases is: www.danheller.com/model-release.html#1.


PARALLEL ISSUES IN MUSIC: DOWNLOADING AND SAMPLING

Today’s technology allows people to download music and burn it to CDs. Much controversy has resulted with protests led by musicians and recording companies. Just like photographers, musicians used to make money every time someone played their music because there was no way for the average person to copy records. Today, one does not have to buy a CD to enjoy music. It is readily available to everyone on the Internet. The Internet is so popular and easy to use that musicians and record companies are not getting paid when people are listening to their music. For further information on this issue, visit www.buzzle.com/articles/laws-for-downloading-music.html.

Another very common practice in music today is sampling – when a recording artist uses part of another artist’s song to record his/her own.

Ask your students if they can come up with examples of sampling in music. Encourage them to bring some recordings to class to share as examples. Some suggestions are:

  • MC Hammer's "Can’t Touch This" (sampled Rick James's "Superfreak")
  • Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life" (sampled "It’s a Hard Knock Life" from the Broadway musical Annie) – BE SURE TO USE THE EDITED VERSION
  • Ashanti's "Rock wit U" (sampled Michael Jackson's "Rock with You")
  • Lil' Romeo's "My Baby" (sampled The Jackson Five's "I Want You Back")
  • Eminem's "Stan" (sampled Dido's "Thank You")
  • Kon Kan's "I Beg Your Pardon" (sampled Lynn Anderson's "Rose Garden")
  • MC Hammer's "Help the Children" (sampled Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me")
  • Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" (sampled Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise")
  • Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" (sampled Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure")
  • Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa" (sampled The Isley Brothers' "Between the Sheets")
  • Gwen Stefani's "Slim Thugs Luxurious" (sampled The Isley Brothers' "Between the Sheets")
  • Public Enemy's "Cycle of Greed" (sampled The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows")

Many more examples can be found at: www.popculturemadness.com/music/samples.html.


Student Activity

  • Brainstorm all the ways a musician or musical group could make money (concerts, promoting products, selling recordings, etc.).
  • Divide your students into groups and give them the following scenarios or discuss them as a class:

1. You are a famous musician. Today you heard a rap song on the radio that samples one of your greatest hits. How do you feel about this? What are you going to do about it?

2. You are the owner of a small, new record company. Your best musician’s song has been sampled by a much bigger star. It’s being played across the country on the radio and on the Internet. How do you feel about this? What are you going to do about it?

3. You really like a song you heard on the radio. Do you buy the CD or download it from the Internet and burn it to a CD? Would your answer be the same if the Internet site charges you for downloading the song? Do you think this is fair?

4. You wrote a really successful song ten years ago. You hear that a new artist is singing the same song, word for word, and it’s becoming a big hit now. The artist lists you as the writer of the song but didn’t tell you that he was going to record it. How do you feel? What do you do?

After the groups share their responses, have each student write a list of rules for downloading and sampling music.

Discussion: What Are the Real Rules?

Copyright is the legal term for a form of protection given to the authors or creators of original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works. Visit www.copyrightkids.org to learn more.

  • Do you know people who download music? Have you done it yourself?
  • Did you know that musicians used to make much more money from the sales of their records than they do today?
  • Do you know why?
  • How are your rules about music different from your rules about photography? How are they the same?
  • Think about what you have decided for both musicians and photographers. Musicians and photographers are both artists. Have you decided on different rules for the two groups? If so, is that fair? Why or why not? Do you think you should change any of your rules?
  • How is sampling music like DNA? Visit www.whosampled.com. (Consult with a science teacher to learn about DNA if you need help.)

Optional Activity for Grades 8–12

Research and expand your discussion to the ethics of posting pictures and music on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media platforms, as well as sharing pictures and music in personal media such as text messages and emails via cell phones.

  • What are the rules?
  • Are the rules different for adults and children?
  • Who makes the rules?
  • How are the rules enforced?
  • How do you feel about the rules?


NEW YORK STATE LEARNING STANDARDs and Core Curriculum

  • New York State Learning Standards for the Arts (Visual Arts, including the museum visit) 1, 2, 3, 4
  • New York State Learning Standards for Math, Science, and Technology 4 (for lesson on DNA), 5
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language 1, 3, 5, 6
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading 1, 6, 7, 8 (in researching and studying copyright), 9, 10, 11
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening 1, 2, 3, 4

 

Audio

  • Nikki S. Lee's Projects: Audio for Younger Students

  • Nikki S. Lee's Projects: Audio for High School Students

  • Thomas Ruff's Portrait (R. Eisch): Audio for Younger Students

  • Thomas Ruff's Portrait (R. Eisch): Audio for High School Students

Gallery