Analysing images - Annotations

By studying one source closely, students can:

  • learn what life was like during a particular period
  • experience personal stories from the past
  • explore a particular issue, event or person in detail
  • illustrate how authors and artists construct their work.

Learning intention

Students will:

  • Locate relevant information from sources provided (ACHHS084)(ACHHS102)
  • Identify the origin and purpose of primary and secondary sources (ACHHS209)
  • Identify and describe points of view, attitudes and values in primary and secondary sources (ACHHS085) (ACHHS155)


A hardcopy or digital image relevant to the topic being studied (see More to explore at the bottom of the page for a variety of great digital image resources) 

Image study - primary - student template [Word 33.5 KB]

If you'd like to explore interactive images, students could also use an online tool like Thinglink to add text and media to images.

For more information on finding images, see the Select resources section of this site.

For background information and primary sources on a range of Victorian topics, see the Explore history section of this site.


Introduce the class to a range of images relevant to the topic being studied and have students form pairs and select an image they would like to work with.

Introduce the single image study student template. Work through an example image as a class and then ask students to work throught the tempate, noting down details about their image and the image's creator and context as they go.

Ask students to copy an image of their source into an application like Word™, PowerPoint™ or Google docs.

Using text boxes and arrows, students can then annotate the image with the observations and notes they recorded on the template.

Students could present their findings to the class and talk the group through their interpretation. Consider the following questions for class discussion:

  • Which images portrayed a similar point of view? Were there different points of view expressed in the collection of images?
  • What kinds of information do you now have about this particular period in history?
  • What type of people and situations are explored in these images? Are there people or situations who might be missing?
  • Have these images been created for different purposes? Is this clear?
  • What further questions do you have?

More to explore

State Library Victoria Flickr page - great albums of out of copyright images from the SLV collections

State Library Victoria digital image pool - search function that allows students to browse thousands of copyright free images from the Library's catalogue

Trove - Pictures, photos, objects - section of the NLA's Trove website which searches thousands of images from collections across Australia

Google reverse image search - a great tool that allows you to search by image, especially useful if you can not find information about a particular image you have come across.

Google images - use Google's powerful search engines and tools to find images from different collections around the world

Painting showing an escape from gaol by two Indigenous men.