25 April 2017

Altered images – first impressions count

Dapper year 5 Hill West Primary School pupils have been striking a pose to bring famous artwork to life for an innovative technology experiment.


The creative nine and 10-year-olds swapped school uniform for boaters and floral finery to recreate artist Pierre Auguste Renoir’s iconic ‘Luncheon at the Boating Party’ (1880-81).

Digital photographs were taken of the children as they focused in the distance to create an oil painting like feel by making strong lines with their bodies and faces.


Now, children are deliberately modifying the photographs using ICT, to experiment with how images can be digitally altered and whether that affects the viewer’s impression of the people in the shot, as pupil pictures show.

Abigail Plimmer’s digitally modified image

Teacher Dr Rhian Warrack said: “In ICT/digital literacy lessons, we have explored the alteration of photographs of famous people (photoshopping) and have considered how we perceive people before and after images have been altered.

“We have also considered whether we see the real person when we see people in photographs and in films. We wondered what the people in Renoir’s picture were doing or thinking and tried to recreate this in our images.”

The project is particularly relevant at a time where magazine and social media images command such a powerful following, where celebrity pictures are routinely edited to present a more flattering public profile.

Pupil Isabelle Dawson said: “I really enjoyed doing artwork; I learnt lots of new skills and techniques and worked very hard. At school I like doing art so this was a fun activity.”



The school is also using the pupil photograph as a model for an oil pastel version of the piece, ‘Luncheon at the Boating Party’. The children are investigating how they can use the oil pastel medium to create shade and tone and are attempting to capture the emotions of the people featured in the painting, using complimentary colours and impressionist style.

Pupil Charilie McAuley said the project had helped children to widen their knowledge of Renoir.

Classmate Morenike Ogundare added: “His drawings have inspired me so much and I have started to take art more seriously.”