In the early 21st Century we find ourselves living in an increasingly global and multi-media world where images, especially photographs and photo illustrations, pervade the communications of our everyday lives.

To be an effective participant in a world where such images are a dominant form of communication, delivered across a range of media and formats, and in a range of cultural contexts, we are increasingly required to become visually and digitally literate.

As Hungarian photographer Maholy-Nagy predicted last century:

The knowledge of photography is just as important as that of the alphabet. The illiterate of the future will be a person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen.

— published in A New Instrument of Vision, 1932

curious-eye.com is an educational website produced as a response to the growing need for e-learning/teaching resources. The site is aimed at students and teachers of photography and design who are keen to know more about:


The ability to make meaning from images, based on the idea that pictures can be "read", and that individuals can develop their "reading" skills through active exploration and critique of images, rather than by being an inactive receiver of them.


The ability to use systematic thinking skills while interacting with the technological world, and being aware of how such interactions affect individuals, societies, and the environment.


The ability to understand, use, manage, and assess digital technologies including those used in photography and design.

The three web galleries (THE PERSON, THE PLACE, and THE THING) show examples of various genres of photography and include stimulus questions to guide analysis, interpretation and critique of each image. Links to relevant websites are also provided.

Yon Ankersmit, 2008 New Zealand Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Teacher Fellow, wishes to thank the Royal Society of New Zealand and Natcoll Design Technology (Auckland Campus) for the support she received whilst producing curious-eye.com. She is also very grateful to the senior Lynfield College and Mount Roskill Grammar School Visual Arts students who have given permission to showcase their photographs.

Royal Society of New Zealand

A special thank you is reserved for Dr. Jill Smith, Principal Lecturer, School of Arts, Languages and Literacies, University of Auckland, Faculty of Education, for her support and guidance whilst studying Visual Arts Education in Aotearoa New Zealand. The coursework undertaken for this paper provided Yon with the impetus to create this website.

Natcoll Design Technology