Ari Helps Xolani Find Pictures

Ari Helps Xolani Find Pictures


PhotoVoice – In Relation to our Project

PhotoVoice is a participatory program that allows participants to take photos and relay information through voice recordings that are embedded in the photo. Through the development of the vendor website platform, PhotoVoice continued to become a larger aspect to our project. Our liaison, Trudy Vlok, was extremely interested in having vendors upload pictures onto the website instead of videos because it would be more feasible for them to get pictures. The goal for each vendor would be to have weekly submissions of photos with voice recordings embedded into each photo. The recordings would be to inform potential buyers of the events the vendor has experienced in the past week. After the vendors uploaded their pictures for that submission they would do a voice-over explaining either why they took that picture or an event that happened in their life that week. It is the job of the vendor to bring in pictures when it is time and find a way to take those pictures. We wrestled with the idea of buying disposable cameras; but that was too much of an expense for The Big Issue and our project budget could not cover it. We started practicing PhotoVoice with a small mentor group in closed meetings to introduce the idea and begin teaching the concepts to the vendors. The mentors are then going to teach other vendors about PhotoVoice.

How PhotoVoice Works

PhotoVoice is described as a technique used in capturing data for research and other interview type projects by Viv Brunsden and Jeff Goatcher in Reconfiguring Photovoice for Psychological Research (2007). The participants are supplied with a camera and are free to take pictures of anything that has meaning to them. These photos allow the participants to document their life experiences and feelings better than words are able to express. The participants have control over how their lives are documented and represented, and these photos become expressions of their life experiences. These photos aid in creating an open discussion between the participants and the researchers, because they encourage free talk and allow the participant to have control of the interview direction. The joining of photos and text offers great insight into understanding the world of the participant. PhotoVoice is a useful tool because the photos act as data that will lead to verbal exchange through discussions of the photos taken.

Benefits of PhotoVoice

PhotoVoice aids greatly in expressing the emotions of the participant. It is sometimes difficult to express emotions through words, because people can be guarded and leave out important topics when discussing their lives. It is sometimes difficult to have a person be completely comfortable sharing experiences that are painful. However, through photographs, one can observe how emotions are expressed externally, making it possible to engage in the emotional world of others. PhotoVoice is also helpful in aiding the ease of anxiety for participants. Having to hold a camera and decide what to take a picture of helps to capture the full attention of participants who might struggle in a normal interview setting. The use of photography also makes participating in research fun and engaging because it has a creative, hands-on aspect to it (Brunsden and Goatcher, 2007).

PhotoVoice Example 

The following video is an example of PhotoVoice completed by a vendor mentor from the Big Issue, Fikiswa.

The next video is another example of photoVoice completed by the vendor mentor, Xolani.

This final video is a PhotoVoice example completed by several Big Issue Vendors of the Month.