POV Activity

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.

Dorothea Lange
Photojournalist Dorothea Lange

Remember the quote from last class? Dorothea Lange was an American photojournalist. She might be best known for the “Migrant Mother” photograph. As a photographer, she certainly knew that POV can change in an instant, depending on who’s behind the camera and what story they are trying to tell.

For the past several weeks, we’ve been practicing the genre of memoir. In our first piece, we took an object and explained how it affected our lives and/or showed a part of our personalities. The second piece shared either a memory of when we felt “anonymous” or another moment in our lives that we felt was significant. In both pieces, we were “behind the camera.” We were telling our stories with our spin–our POV.

Now we’re working on our first short story in Third Person. We’re still behind the camera, but we must imagine the story from a POV that is different from “I.” And if the narrator is no longer “I,” the story we tell may (or may not) change.

We’re going to do a short exercise in class, but I’m telling you now so you can work on this before class (if you so desire, but no pressure). We’ll look at a picture and write mini stories about the picture (150-300 words). Please title your story Full Name, POV Story for Picture ___ under Assignment Posts. (Be sure to insert A, B, or C in the blank space.)

I’ve divided the class into three groups and posted the pictures in the Course Profile: POV Story, Group A (last name A through H), POV Story, Group B (last name I through P), or POV Story, Group C (last name Q through Z). Please take 15-20 minutes and do the following (seriously, I’ll be setting a timer for this activity):

  1. Look at your picture.
  2. Write a short (very short) story in the Third Person about the picture (again, 150-300 words).
  3. Answer the following questions in your story and post it under Assignment Posts. Title it: Full Name, POV Story for Picture ___:
  • Who is involved?
  • What is happening?
  • Why is this happening?
  • When did this happen?
  • Where did this happen?

Here’s an example:

Example Picture

Evelyn and Maria are sisters. They’ve never spent more than a day apart. Neither of them drive anymore–Evelyn’s eyesight is pretty bad and Maria’s is even worse. Each Saturday, one of their grandchildren drives them to the supermarket so they can buy groceries. Evelyn sits up front because she’s a better navigator than Maria. Maria comments on the grandchild’s driving skills. The sisters often argue with one another about their purchases on the way home. Evelyn thinks that Maria buys too much red meat and Maria thinks Evelyn buys too much vodka.

Obviously, many different stories could be drawn from this picture, but that’s what I wrote in about eight minutes. Note that I answered all the questions and shared the sisters’ personalities–all using third person!

Please note: Your picture will be different from the Example Picture!

Have fun with this–answer the questions in your story as best you can! We’ll see how many different stories can be drawn from these pictures!

All the due dates and extra details for the week on the Assignment page for Week 8. Please check there for that information.