The 5 W's, or What, Who, When, Where and Why?

Only in this order because it is easier to remember, try it ..
        what - who - when - where - why ..

First, what is it?
Is it a photo (digital, newspaper, family, vintage, reproduction and so on), is it a canvas, or is it a sculpture?, etc.)

What it is, is not the subject or what it portrays but the thing itself. We tend to look at a painting and say: "O, that is the Eifel tower" But most probably it is a canvas with paint on it. Also, it might be a mere reproduction, not an original. And so on.

Who made it?
A professional? A family member? A reliable source?

Who made it is a source to meaning and to reliability. A photograph made by my grandson is meaningful for me but not at all for you. A picture made by Mr. Trump's propaganda machine is not reliable for any of us.

Try to fix a date on it.

People change, cultures change, we all change. Time may heal wounds, but what we are looking at and memories remain.

Where was it made is important.
Is a war picture made from 'our' side or from 'their' side?

Is the image made 'in situ', or from a different location? (Nova Reperta) Or is it made on a computer and altered?

First what is the intention of the maker, what does he want to tell? Is there a message?
or is it What What do I think of it?
What is my opinion?
Is what I see true??
The average time we look at a painting in a museum is 20 seconds at most. We flip through magazines and hardly look at all at images on our telephone. No time. Which makes sense because we have to choose so many times in a day whát to look at. We can't take time for everything, now way!
But when it really ís important it is good to start with the 5 W's, it will sharpen our opinion and is much more fun.