Create a Classroom Magazine

This activity ties to social studies and news projects that you might be working on with your class, inspired by Color Rush: 75 Years of Color Photography in America.

A major part of the exhibition focuses on magazines. Artists such as Nickolas Muray, Anton Bruehl, and Paul Outerbridge, Jr., used color to entice people to buy the products in advertisements. Fashion magazines used color artistically to highlight clothing. News-reporting magazines such as Life and National Geographic used color photographs to make their stories on current events come alive.

Students should visit the Life archives from the 1940s and 1950s and/or the National Geographic Flashback website to see more photographs from those periods. If students are interested in exploring the history of fashion photography, some good resources are Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue (article with slideshow here, book here). You might even take a trip to your local public library, which may have magazine archives, to look through the physical pages themselves.

After they have done their research, have your class think about what events, places, and people are important today, and then have them work together to create a class magazine. What should the topics be? What images should be used? What kinds of writing should be included? You can adjust the complexity of the magazine and articles according to your class’s grade level.

Each student should take a role, of writer, photographer, or designer. They should work together to create a class magazine—a snapshot of life in 2013.

“Publish” your magazine by printing and distributing it to other classes and to family members, or save your magazine in a web-friendly format (HTML, PDF, or straight from Microsoft Word) and post it on your school’s website.