Participatory Photography

Photography as a form of communication facilitates deep thinking which transfers to genuine and effective communication. In participatory photography, the photographer contemplates how to clearly identify the message they desire to communicate and then he or she determines the best photograph to visually depict this message.  The photographer then has the opportunity to speak to the image they captured and communicate their idea to a group. The effort and thought necessary to produce this communicative photograph allows for serious and difficult topics to be brought up and discussed. Participatory photography can build more effective relationships between participants, but in order for it to be successful, the parties must have established some level of trust beforehand as well.

Community members experiment with cameras.

Our team researched this communication strategy but did not get the opportunity to use it to identify opportunities in 7de Laan or Flamingo Crescent. We had hoped to rent cameras to share with co-researchers and other community leaders. We planned to leave the cameras behind for a night or two and ask the community members to take pictures of the meaningful things in their lives or the things they wanted to communicate to us. Our vision was to allow the photographs to begin conversation about people’s daily lives, strengths, concerns and aspirations through a storytelling ‘show and tell’ presentation approach. This strategy would begin conversation about the people’s current living situations and teach us some of their strengths as well as their hopes for future living conditions.