Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Center, Photographs, Film, and Video

Camera-Ready: Hooper Elementary Students on a Digital Scavenger Hunt

Students from Hooper Avenue Elementary School participate in a scavenger hunt at the Getty Center organized by John Divola
The Getty Center is one of the most-photographed landmarks in Los Angeles, with visitors snapping images of its art, architecture, gardens, and breathtaking views.

In March, the Getty Museum’s education department chose to up the ante with a “Digital Scavenger Hunt” for second-grade students from Hooper Elementary in Los Angeles. The activity was part of photographer John Divola’s contribution to this year’s Getty Artists Program. Each year, the Getty Museum invites one artist to take part in the program, creating and implementing a project of his or her choosing. Divola, known for his photographs of California’s social and environmental landscapes, proposed the Digital Scavenger Hunt in an effort to engage students with the Getty Center site and collection and the act of photography.

Armed with digital cameras, students visited the Getty Center three times, with each visit offering new challenges. Subjects included heads with hats or helmets, gold or silver objects, doors and doorways, plates, bowls, vases, representations of skies, and brightly colored shoes. Each subject was assigned points based on the difficulty of locating it.

The scavenger hunt remains one of Divola’s favorite learning assignments, as it invites students to collaborate and be creative, while encouraging careful looking and attention to details. The goal is to have fun while creating a collective piece of art—a challenge the kids gladly accepted!

First, Museum educator Kelly Williams provided direction to the students. Then they were given their own cameras for the day and began their hunt. Our educators were delighted by the ease with which the kids handled the cameras—turning off the flash when asked, zooming in and out, and setting up unique shots of the scavenger hunt objects. These were some tech-savvy students!

Students from Hooper Avenue Elementary School participate in a scavenger hunt at the Getty Center organized by John Divola

Getty Museum educator Kelly Williams gives Hooper Avenue students a mission: Find brightly colored shoes!

Students eagerly scoured the Getty Center’s galleries for scavenger hunt items. Here, they photographed a painting that depicts the sky and has gold gilding in its frame.

Students from Hooper Avenue Elementary School participate in a scavenger hunt at the Getty Center organized by John Divola

Students were asked to follow a few simple suggestions when they photographed, including filling the frame with the image they selected. One student took her time to set up a shot in the galleries.

Students from Hooper Avenue Elementary School participate in a scavenger hunt at the Getty Center organized by John Divola

Looking beyond the Getty Center walls, students also used the outside view as inspiration.

Students from Hooper Avenue Elementary School participate in a scavenger hunt at the Getty Center organized by John Divola

Finding brightly colored shoes proved to be the biggest challenge, but the students finally found their subject in bright blue sneakers!

Students from Hooper Avenue Elementary School participate in a scavenger hunt at the Getty Center organized by John Divola

Eureka! Students rush to complete their scavenger hunt by photographing this visitor's brightly colored shoes.

Once all the student photos have been collected, they will be combined into a series of large prints that will be displayed at the Getty Center on June 3, 2012. In addition to the Hooper Avenue scavenger hunt, Divola also worked with local community college students on their own hunt, and the results will be displayed at the Getty Center’s annual College Night, happening tonight.

After three picture-perfect days of exploration, education, and some really cool photographs, the students agreed: Photography can be used for more than commemorating holidays and special occasions. It’s something that can be used to capture images every day of the year!

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      From you have I been absent in the spring,
      When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
      Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
      That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
      Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
      Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
      Could make me any summer’s story tell,
      Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
      Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
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      Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
      Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
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      —William Shakespeare, born April 23, 1564

      Vase of Flowers (detail), 1722, Jan van Huysum. The J. Paul Getty Museum

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