The Value of Dreams
Dreams are visual experiences that
make use of our senses and can potentially enrich cognitive abilities by
allowing students to think,
process, and construct new
images based on them.
Artists who depict social
consciousness, joy, and suffering often use dreams and
memories for subject matter
in creating art. Photographers
have used their cameras to
document, inform, compose, express,
and create surreal images influenced
by dreams and memories. The contributions of memory to creating visual
images cannot be ignored.
In this lesson, students are asked to
use their memories and dreams to
create images in photography. They
artists were attempting to get the pub-
lic to understand? What methods do
you think the artists used to achieve
the effects in the images? How are
space and perspective used?
Which are your favorite art-
ists? What attracts you the
Dreams are experiences that make use
of our senses, and they can potentially
enrich cognitive abilities by allowing
students to think, process, and
construct new images based on them.
are first introduced to images such
as Joanne Leonard’s Romanticism Is
Ultimately Fatal, from Dreams and
Nightmares; James Van Der Zee’s
photographs on the nature of the
Harlem Renaissance and the
study of African-American life
and dreams during the 1920s;
Edward Weston’s exaggerated
images of common objects
such as Pepper; and Masao
Students are also intro-
duced to Janet Scott’s dream
images, which allow her to
create narratives from her
dreams or memories. Janet
Scott has stated, “I am inter-
ested in how a viewer can
look at an image and create
a narrative based on their
own dreams or memories/
Students are asked to recall
a dream or memory that is
important to them. They stage
and take photographs of environments
that they believe best depict their
dream, or create a dream environment
in which they can work and add fig-
ures as needed.
Bernard Young is a professor of art education at Arizona State University. Bernard.
Janet Scott is a local contemporary photographer in Tempe, Arizona.
Students conceive and create works of
visual art that demonstrate an understanding of how the communication
of their ideas relates to the media,
techniques, and processes they use.
Through group discus-
sion, students suggest
narratives based on the
images they are shown or
on each other’s finished
works. They are asked to
describe the images and
to point out any distor-
tions, symbolism, fig-
ures, shapes and colors,
use of perspective, and
They are asked ques-
tions such as: How do
artists use dreams?
What do you think the
be introduced to the work of •
Janet Scott, a contemporary
photographer who uses dreams
and memories to create images.
be encouraged to use photogra- •
phy to manipulate their cameras
to create visual effects, using
special lenses, filters, software,
and printing techniques.
use wet darkrooms using film •
or digital photography.
do outside research to find •
photographers who use
memories and dreams in their
Janet Scott, Untitled, 2006. Courtesy of the artist.