Revisiting the roots and aims of photovoice

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rose Ewald (Creator)
Muhsin Michael Orsini, AP Assistant Professor and Director of the Undergraduate Program (Creator)
Robert W. Strack, Associate Professor and Department Head (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Since its introduction, photovoice has been implemented in numerous fields with a wide array of outcomes of interest, but has the method been implemented in a way that is consistent with its initial aims in mind? From Caroline Wang and Mary Ann Burris’s initial 1994 project, photovoice has demonstrated power to harness visual imagery and stories within a participatory empowerment process and established a new tool for the profession for understanding community members’ lived experience and needs, raising the critical consciousness of communities, and advocating for actions leading to social change. Based in Freirean philosophy, feminist theory, and documentary photography, photovoice engages community members to identify, represent, and change their community by means of photography, dialogue, and action. Public health can benefit when researchers and practitioners more carefully conceptualize the intended aims of each photovoice effort. The purpose of this article is to consider the varied applications of photovoice and propose a classification system that encapsulates its wide-ranging aims. Close examination of foundational literature and previous applications of photovoice suggest the following categories for framing the application of the method; specifically, photovoice for (a) photovention, (b) community assessment, (c) community capacity building, and (d) advocacy for change. Full implementations of photovoice have the capacity to illuminate complex real-world issues leading to advocacy for policy, systems, and environmental change. It is our hope that the proposed framing clarifies the language used to discuss photovoice and its outcomes, distinguishes its various uses and stated aims, and maximizes its impact in future applications.

Additional Information

Health Promotion Practice, 23(2), 221-229.
Language: English
Date: 2022
advocacy, social determinants of health, social policy, environmental and systems change, community intervention, health promotion, health education, community-based participatory research, health research, qualitative research, community assessment, program planning and evaluation

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