Module 5: Image Workshop

5.7 Image Creation Workshop

Creating Images of Your Own

We’re going to engage in a series of exercises designed to get us thinking about how we take photographs and use images—from framing to lighting to colour palette. What tone or mood do you want your image to evoke? What story are you trying to tell? After these activities, we will have a tutorial on how to edit images on Canva. You will need a cellphone, tablet, or laptop that can take pictures.


1. Mood Colour Palettes (5-10 minutes)

Step 1: Navigate to the link provided and choose a colour palette that best represents your mood or emotional state:

Step 2: identify one to three of the colours in your chosen mood palette in your immediate surroundings (your room, apartment, outside your window, etc.)

Step 3: photograph the item or collection of items in a way that helps to represent your emotional state (consider: shadows? Light? Should the objects be big, or small? What angle should I photograph them from?)

2. Selfies of Resistance (5-10 minutes)

Pick a social issue that you are passionate about. This will be the title of your image. It might be as broad as systemic racism or the patriarchy or as narrow as Bill C-7 or the closure of the indie bookstore down the street due to lack of government support during COVID-19. It could be something you support, dream, or wish for, or something that fills you with fury and despair. Now, take a selfie, using your face, body language (and potentially clothing and make-up), lighting, and background to communicate how you feel about this topic.

3. Fragments of Home (5-10 minutes)

The theme for this activity is space/place, what we might, sometimes, call home (although the spaces we inhabit often don’t feel like homes). Places can be safe, protective, dangerous, confusing, chaotic, calm. They can be everything at once. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (2018) points to some of the many connections between disability and the home sphere, taking care to note that creating art and culture from home, and more specifically, from bed, is a “time-honored crip creative practice” (p. 17).  In this, Piepzna-Samarasinha rejects framings of rest and working from bed as “weak or uncool” or otherwise lacking the competence or dedication of “real” culture creators, and instead reminds us that working from home and bed are accessibility measures with historical legacies within crip culture and disability justice movements (p. 17).  Ellen Samuels (2017) further explores the spaces and timelines disabled people work within, further connecting disabled cultural creation to the home and bed.  Samuels locates the home and bed as a place for the quality and quantity of rest needed by many disabled people.  Samuels also names home as a place to remove oneself from the public view and sideways glances arising from the ableism of strangers.  These positive associations of home reside alongside some of the pains of home for disabled people.  Some disabled people have been confined to the home sphere, while others were ripped from it under the historical legacy of institutionalization.  Home is complicated for many, and this includes disabled populations.

For this exercise, take an image that represents your relationship to home and your current space. Does it connect you to intimate moments with loved ones? Is it a place you want to escape? Is it a place you can be yourself, or does it require you to wear a metaphorical mask?  If you identify as a person with a disability, how does your relationship with disability merge with your relationship with your home?  After considering these questions, take a picture of an object in your space and a body part (perhaps a hand or a foot). The object might symbolize a part of your home life, or perhaps a place you used to live and still hold in your heart. It might be an object you use every day or rarely. It might be an object you love deeply or an object you resent or dislike. Now think about positioning yourself in relationship to the object. Are you touching the object? Are you entering the frame, or leaving it? What’s in the centre of your image and what is at the edges? Remember: the point of the exercise is to create an image that represents your relationship (or one aspect of your complex relationships) with space/place and home.


Discussion and Reflection:

  • Which activity was the most challenging?
  • Which activity was the most inspiring or engaging?
  • What barriers or difficulties did you encounter during this exercise?
  • If you had more time, how would you have changed your images and/or stories?



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Digital Methods for Disability Studies Copyright © 2022 by Esther Ignagni is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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