Starting point 

Hacking Nature

Historically, the photo has been perceived as a media of truth - a replica of reality. However, most contemporary people are aware that nearly all photos are staged to some degree. Over the last decades, the possibility of digitally manipulating photos has increased exponentially.

In Denmark, nature and the concept of nature are subject to manipulation as well and not a single piece of land exists that hasn’t been manipulated.


Through work with manipulation of photos from the school’s surroundings using the panorama function on an Ipad or an Iphone camera, we want to raise the students’ awareness of photo manipulation and how this affects the story a photo tells. The learners will get hands-on-experience with photo manipulation and get to produce creative, written work inspired by their photos. 

As an end product, a digital book featuring all the students’ photos and stories will be produced and shared within the school or with international partner schools.



The teacher will begin the workshop by giving a short introduction to photo manipulation and its historical development.

Next, the students will be introduced to different panorama photos and asked to observe and reflect on what they see.


Then the possibilities of manipulating photos using the panorama function in either an Ipad or an Iphone camera will be introduced.

  1. If you move the camera slowly using the panorama function, the actors in the photo will have time to run to a new spot and in that way be featured several times in the same photo (photo 1)
  2. If you choose not to follow the arrow in the panorama function, but instead either turn the camera upside down or just move it up and down, you will create a new reality (photo 2).

After the introduction to the purpose and the technical aspects of the task. the learners will have 40 minutes to produce three manipulated photos in the following structure:

  1. Groups of three
  2. Each group are given a specific location in which they have to shoot their photos
  3. Each group are given/or asked to find a specific object related to the school. This object is to be featured in the photo.
  4. Every group member will “direct” a photo with the two other members serving as “actors” in that photo. Thus, all members will have creative control of one of the three photos.

After this, the learners will be given 45 minutes to share their photos with the teachers (airdrop) and produce a text to accompany the three photos in the following structure

  1. The learners will upload their photo to Google Drive, insert it into a document and will then be asked to write a poem or a short narrative inspired by their photo.
  2. The written task will be scaffolded through work with glossaries and modeled texts. This can be differentiated depending on the level of the learners.

An idea is to use the structure “Diamond Poem”:


Finally, the learners will present their work and receive feedback from their teachers and peers. This process can be both heavily structured or more learner-paced. We have good experiences with a learner-paced reflection process where they get to share their own experiences and through this inspire others to do the same.


Ipads/Iphones, photos of the surroundings, different items from the school.


Jesper Olsen (artist), Nicolai Kjærsgaard Andersen, Viola Grundmann, Thomas Mogensen (students), Anna Bruun (lecturer) University College of Northern Denmark

Examples of learners workingIMG_0785.JPGIMG_0783.JPGIMG_0761.JPG

Examples of manipulated photos and stories:


At a sunny and windy day, the girl Mille was  going to water the bushes with  Kirstine's bottle In front of  her big red  house  so the bushes did not dry out.  She became very happy after she had watered the bushes. Then she gave the bottle to Kirstine


Mille gave the water bottle to Kirstine. Then Kirstine went to cycle. She cycled a very long and hard trip. when she came home she realised there was only  two drops back in the bottle. She got really angry.  She poured  the drops out of the bottle in the hope of a bit more water was in the bottle. She got very angry at Mille. But Mille apologized, then they became friends again


Christian was about to come home from the most awesome park in the world it was sooo huge but earlier that day he ate something it was called a peyote it tasted fine but it feels like my arm is pretty ill and it smells like sh*t but it tasted fine but my arm his arm started grow it looks like a vulcan that is about to explode it was growing bigger and bigger


And when he was nearly home the arm where bigger than the whole world

his vision started to look weird it was like water was all over him but there was sounds too it sounds like a bird screaming and he was a about to fall but he got this weird taste in his mouth it taste like a lemon and a melon in a mix but then he falled to the ground he woke up 2 hours after his arm was bigger than the world and he slapped the whole world and the world where burning down of course it was a mistake he slapped the world but it was awful every thing burned he needed to cut his arm off before it did more harm he took a knife and cuttet it off and saved the world but it was still burning he took the fire extinguisher mixed it with some of the peyote and then it was growing very big bigger than the world maybe the universe who knows ? but then it extinguished the fire and the world was completely safe