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The Influence of James Nachtwey on the Field of Photojournalism

Sarah Platanitis
Holyoke High School
Holyoke, Mass.

Title: The Influence of James Nachtwey on the Field of Photojournalism

Generative Topics: Photojournalism

Generative Objectives:

To discuss basic photojournalism elements.

To understand how James Nachtwey’s work has impacted the field of photojournalism.

To encourage student photo essays.


  • Activity 1
    • Research James Nachtwey’s life and career
    • Complete biographical worksheet

  • Activity 2
    • Groups will look at photo essays by James Nachtwey about Afghanistan, AIDS, Deeds of War, Romania, Bosnia, South Africa, Famines, Kosovo, Industrial Pollution, Crime and Punishment, Pakistan, Heroin, Rwanda, India, Chechnya, Israel, Indonesia, or 9-11-01
    • Groups will pick three photographs, learn the essential information behind them, and present them to the class. (Worksheet two)

  • Activity 3
    • Discuss the elements of photojournalism. See resources.
    • Students will go into their community and take enough photographs (30 images minimum) to create a photo essay in the style of James Nachtwey.
    • Students will pick ten of their best photos and create paragraphs with the essential information about the images. (Worksheet 3)

Student assessment will combine the grades for James Nachtwey biography worksheet, participation in the group’s Nachtwey photo essay presentation, and individual work on their student photo essay.

Resources :

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