Whether you are planning to use photography as a tool for learning across the curriculum or you simply want to do a theme unit on photography, here’s a list of books that I came across in researching this article that I highly recommend (a few of which I was able to find at the library).
• A great book to help start you on your journey to using photography in the classroom is Picture Science: Using Digital Photography to Teach Young Children, Carla Neumann-Hinds (2007, Redleaf Press). It offers practical approaches to using photography to assist children in exploring the world around them, with sample science lessons and classroom applications. It explains how to use digital photography to make each step in the scientific method of investigation—from posing a question, to gathering data, to showing your findings—concrete and fun for children.
To begin on the journey of using photography to enhance other areas of your curriculum, such as history and physics, there are several books with good clear sections on photography. These are good for learning about the invention of the camera, and its development over time, as well as the general science behind the camera.
• How Things Work, an Illustrated Encyclopedia by Chris Oxlade (BackPack Books, 2005). This book has a very large section about cameras and photography and includes some very cool experiments and activities that illustrate each topic. You can get a used copy of this book on Amazon for less than a dollar, plus shipping.
• Photography by Alan Buckingham (Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Books, 2004). This highly regarded book covers the history and development of photography with lots of great facts and photos of historical artifacts.
• Click! A Story of George Eastman, by Barbara Mitchell (Carolrhoda Books, Inc., 1986) is a short biography of this American inventor who singlehandedly revolutionized photography.
Books that compile a collection of iconic images are excellent to have on hand, and they can be used to discuss the art of photography and the history surrounding the images, as well be used as writing prompts for creative writing. LIFE magazine has published many books of photographs that they have run over the years, and their book 100 Photographs That Changed the World, edited by Robert Sullivan (Time, Inc., 2003), provides a good general overview to have on hand. A similar compilation is Time’s 100 Greatest Images, History’s Most Influential Photographs, edited by Kelly Knauer (Time Home Entertainment, Inc., 2012), which includes photos from the past five years.