Anthropology and Photography 2014 (1)

British Museum, Clore Centre, 29-31 May 2014


Photography as a research method

Location BP Lecture Theatre
Date and Start Time 30 May, 2014 at 09:30


Marcel Reyes-Cortez (Goldsmiths)  email
 Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This panel will consider and discuss the practice and the use of photography as a research method and critically look at photography as a source of evidence and memory.

Long Abstract

In current academic research photography and the use of photographs have opened the possibility for a richer and detailed level of engagement with spaces and people researchers encounter. This panel will discuss the practice and use of photography as a research method and critically look at photography as a source of evidence and memory. This panel will provide a space for researchers engaged with anthropology a critical forum to discus their experiences. Looking at the practice of photography as an art form in collaboration with the social sciences. Opening the possibility for ethnographers who use or wish to utilise photography to engage with the ways that theory and practice can collaborate in order for photography to engage with the phenomena of the social world, voicing the opinions and emotions of people and researchers alike. Giving greater sensitivity and richness to an ethnography and also for dissemination and analyses.

Through this panel we aim to explore how the ubiquitous photograph becomes a knowledge making practice. Photography with its sensorial and performative qualities opens interaction, creates and cultivates relationships with people. Photography has been found to stimulate and incite the emotions that bind people together. The panel will also look at how the practice and use of photographs and its limitations can open spaces and encounters of collaboration, speed the entry into the field assisting the research and participants a richer multi faceted field experience.

We invite papers that attempt engages with photography beyond the observational or as an illustrative source.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Reconstructing the Local Past: Family album and Tatar village

Author: Ramina Abilova (Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University) email

Short Abstract

This paper describes using Family album as the instrument for reconstructing the Local Past. Family photo albums help us trace the history of the Tatar village and depict some aspects of its life.

Long Abstract

The family albums take a special place among memory repositories. They are material artifacts focused on the information space of the past. In villages photographs were not available for a long time. The tradition of taking photos was gradually developing to become a part of life of the rural population. Therefore, the family photos of villagers are of great interest to us. This article presents findings from a field study of the family photo albums of the Tatar rural population. A field study for empirical data was conducted among the Tatar residents of the village of Upper Shemordan in Kukmor district (The Republic of Tatarstan, Russia) in the years 2011-2012.

Family albums help their owners to save the memory of the family's past. It is important to learn much about each album, its content, context. Albums depict, first, important stages in the family life and their domestic mode of life; second, the professional activity of villagers: their work in kolkhozes and at construction sites; almost every family has photographs from various festive occasions: they include photos of national and regional holidays and family gatherings; photos depicting religious holidays' celebrations have not been identified. It has been found out that albums contain photographs fixing social life. In many photos one can see some symbols of the Soviet power. Through albums, "the infant world" of the Tatar village can be revealed. The photographs provide a visual representation of the village scenery: in social and cult buildings and private houses.

Hrig: The Role of Photography in the Burning

Author: Isabella Alexander (Emory University) email

Short Abstract

I engage my fieldwork on the “temporary” settlement of sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco and analyze photography, as a research tool, process of community collaboration and means of dissemination, in places of liminality, where narrative and image are used to reconstruct a past and reimagine a future.

Long Abstract

This paper engages my current fieldwork, in which photography plays critical roles as a research tool, process of community collaboration, and means of wider dissemination. "Hrig," the Arabic term for "illegal" immigration, translates to "burning." It signifies the literal burning of one's identification papers, and the symbolic burning of one's past in hopes of a better life abroad. My research asks what this burning means for sub-Saharans who remain in Morocco - neither in their home countries, nor their desired European destinations. Since my questions center on an emergent form of migration leaving populations in "temporary" settlement, I must reevaluate traditional ethnographic methods. I argue for a reconceptualization of migrants not as interconnected between sending and receiving countries, past and future lives - but as largely disconnected from both. I have therefore adapted photo-elicitation to assess how individuals creatively narrate their pasts when linkages to home increase deportation risks. Douglas Harper (2002) claims that photo-elicitation not only educes more information, but a different kind of information. I consider how photographs that connect subjects to particular event (but are not reflective of their actual lives) conjure different responses than those that connect subjects to their pasts. While the former highlights migrants' memories of connection, the latter illuminates placement within larger social structures and commonly highlights migrants' memories of disconnection. I explore what is selectively revealed and concealed through narrative and image, as migrants attempt to reconstruct a past and reimagine a future, and problematize the role of photography in working with liminal populations.

Photographic Traditions and Aegean Modernities

Author: Tryfon Bampilis (University of Oxford) email

Short Abstract

The paper examines the process of traditionalization of the photographs of Giannis Venardis on the island of Skyros in the Aegean sea and the transformation of his work into an "authentic" representation of the past and an idealized heritage of the island. Based on the fieldwork of the author.

Long Abstract

Since the beginning of the twentieth century photographs have become an integral part of the social life of Aegean islanders. Photographic images have been incorporated and often associated with "tradition", "authenticity", ritual practices and local identity. A way of approaching this traditionalization of photography is the biography of the self-taught island photographer Giannis Vernardis who kept the only photography shop on the island of Skyros for over thirty years. The story of the photographer's life and his widely circulating photographs are vehicles of varying notions of tradition and modernity that are of central importance in contemporary ethnography and anthropology. By examining the consumption, production and perceptions of the photographer about his work the paper shows how the contemporary notions of history, heritage and tradition on the island of Skyros have been influenced to a large extent by his photographs and how a frozen portrait in time, that of the "old Skyros" has been constructed.

Photography as a Research Method in Melilla and Köln

Author: Francesco Bruno Bondanini (Universität zu Köln) email

Short Abstract

I use photography as a research method so as to create space of encounter and collaboration within different ethnographic works. Photography stimulates creativity in the participants, provides a variety of data and builds a relationship far from the one of interviewer-interviewee

Long Abstract

During my PhD fieldwork I used photography as a method for researching the everyday lives of a group of migrants living in a Camp in Melilla, a Spanish enclave situated in Northern Africa. Migrants live in this place sometimes for years, waiting for Spanish government deportation. Through a variety of workshops the migrants debated and shared feelings about their condition in permanent transit. Photography was an instrument to discuss key themes in the literature on immigration, such as the construction of identity, the sense of membership and the migratory journey. Furthermore, these instruments permitted me to get in contact with migrants and establish a different relationship from the one interviewer-interviewee. I was to them the researcher but also the teacher of photography and an activist who understood their situation. Besides, I used photo elicitation during single interviews with informants. After this experience I worked in Cologne (Germany) through photography workshops with a group of Spanish migrants living in the city. During the workshops we debated themes such as home and belonging and shared our feelings about living abroad. In these projects participation of the migrants increased the results; reinforcing their self-representation and allowing them to voice their opinion and provide a variety of data, improving reflexivity and creating spaces of encounters for collaboration. Back in Melilla, I now use photography with local Imazighen communities where we debate themes such as memory and visibility.

The ageing process and how it is viewed by two groups of elderly and young people: a comparative study exploring perceptions of stereotypes and healthy images of ageing.

Authors: Sara Ronzi (University of Liverpool) email
Russell Caplan (London South Bank University) email

Short Abstract

Comparative perceptions of ageing among young and old people are explored via an innovative method of engagement and dialogue called Photo-Voice that actively challenges the stereotypes surrounding older people and ageing.

Long Abstract

The demographics of an ageing population are situated in relation to its social dynamics, that is, social perceptions of ageing and the barriers that constitute stereotypes which impinge on the process of healthy ageing. This dialectic of an ageing population and social perceptions of this phenomenon, expressed in the socio-photographic construct of healthy ageing, is articulated within a Health Promotion narrative that sets the scene for what is essentially a piece of Health Promotion action research.

The use of photography becomes a method of investigation as well as an intervention actively shaping the narratives of ageing among the young and old participants. The research subjects become researchers. Through an innovative process of action research which is both an investigation of young and old people's perceptions of ageing through Photo-voice which is also a parallel process of investigation of the process of ageing by these same research subjects.

The production of images both mediates and generates thinking in interesting and novel ways that has the potential to reach areas of thought that are perhaps not accessible through direct/simple qualitative enquiry like focus groups and/or interviews. Photo-voice's theoretical foundation is grounded in Freire's (1970) critical consciousness raising approach to education. He used drawing to encourage collective discussion about community issues among participants, leading them to take collective action. Similarly, in photo-voice, and specifically in this study, participants' photographs and stories, are employed to raise joint discussion about the ageing process. New vistas are opened up for promoting positive images of ageing.

A Photographic Approach on the Concept of Invincibility within Debus Banten Communities in Pandeglang, Banten Province, Indonesia

Author: Arif Datoem (Universiti Malaysia Kelantan) email

Short Abstract

This paper offers a researched outlook and activity, where photography substantially devotes a method as well as a constitution of thoughts and feelings into the process of seeing, in order to experience a deep understanding of the state of existence of its subject.

Long Abstract

This paper is made in an effort to deepen the understanding of the possibilities on the utilization of socio-cultural representation within the process of art creation in order to give more meaning into the art of photography. There is a great chance of practicability that visual ethnography or photo-ethnography can provide assistance and answer to these issues. Therefore, the author tried to formulate a form of research method by collaborating the method of photo-ethnographic approach and the emotional approach in conducting the investigation; in order to obtain an intellectual insight along with the creative insight from the truth attached to the subjects. The values embodied in the concept of invincibility in Debus Banten as the theme obtained from the results of research activity conducted on the existence of the Debus Banten communities are then formularized as an artwork through the process of fine art photography creation. The concept is developed from the deep understanding of the subject as well as from an empirical experience in the area of photography, guided by basic theories of anthropology especially ethnography, theories of creativity, and theories of art creation that have been previously established. By means of these approaches, all lead to the creation of images that tend to be more significance, more prolific in social meaning, and offer a credible empirical documentation of a phenomenon in everyday life as well as intuitively offers artistic autonomous that could provide more magnitude to the quality of a photographic representations.

The Beauty Box: Photographs, objects and designed prompts in the study of ageing and beauty

Authors: Monica Moreno Figueroa (University of Cambridge) email
Cathrine Degnen (Newcastle University, UK) email

Short Abstract

Drawing on interviews on ageing and beauty with older women and men in Mexico and the UK, this paper reflects on our initial findings on the methodological use of personal and celebrity photographs, beauty objects and a designed research prompt: the ‘Beauty Box’.

Long Abstract

Drawing on a series of interviews focusing on ageing and beauty with older women and men in Mexico and the UK, this paper explores how we, an anthropologist and a sociologist working with a designer and a photographer, have been developing the use of photographs and photography. We consider these to be a constitutive, creative and rich resource that far exceed their use as illustrative or as evoking-memory tools, recognising that "the photographic meaning is made through a confluence of sensory experience, in which the visual is only a part of the efficacy of the image" (Edwards 2012: 230). Here, we reflect on initial findings on the methodological use of personal and celebrity photographs, beauty objects and a designed research object: the 'Beauty Box'. This is a research prompt that includes a photographic visual map via of a famous peers' ageing process as well as a designated space where participants can place their daily beauty objects (normally privately hidden away) and significant pre-existing personal photographs. It works as an 'excuse' that permit us to engage with the routine and processes of participants' around 'looking their best', as well as with the stories attached to this. Bringing together personal and celebrity photographs in conversation with the materiality of their beauty routines allow us to discuss the feelings and experience about their changing bodies. We conclude by describing the future directions of this work towards 'negotiated portraiture', a collaborative research image-making process that will generate narratives about the negotiation of participant's representation.

From the photographer to the visual researcher. The restrictions of skills, style and quality in photography-based research.

Author: Adam Dzidowski (Wroclaw University of Technology ) email

Short Abstract

The frequently incomplete visual literacy among the researchers causes many methodological considerations. Although technical skills are not the essence of visual anthropology, it is necessary to better understand how they and related issues affect the research process.

Long Abstract

As visual methodologies have become popular, many researchers start to use their cameras as research tools. However, unlike spoken and written language, using images appears to be far more problematic. While it is obvious that any scientific text should be free of linguistic errors, it is not uncommon to see poorly prepared photographic documentation accompanying ethnographic work. Moreover, since the interpretative basis of qualitative methodologies accept subjectivity of the researcher, his or her technical mistakes are either neglected or attributed to unique style. Nevertheless, although technical skills are not the essence of visual anthropology, their lack may lead to many methodological mistakes. This problem is especially symptomatic in the emerging fields of visual research, such as organisational anthropology, where the researchers' visual literacy is yet to be developed. All visual researchers should pay a special attention to the trustworthiness and rigour of their methods, as well as the quality of the acquired illustrative material. Not only because poorly lit or faultily composed photos could distort the viewer's reception. A more important issue is that inconsiderate usage of photographic equipment or the choice of unusual perspective can lead to distorted interpretation. The awareness of photographic rules does not restrict researchers to realistic approach, since they may choose narrative or even highly reflexive perspective, but this choice must be conscious and easily understood for the viewer. Additionally, visual ethnography induces many other considerations, especially relating to the empowerment of the viewer's interpretation, new methods of visual data coding, copyright, image enhancing or even printing quality restrictions.

Intersecting Photography, Art and Anthropology in a Research Context

Author: Victor Ecoma (University of Calabar) email

Short Abstract

Research remains a systematic enquiry aimed at increasing the stock of knowledge in a given area of study, which includes knowledge about man, culture and society.

Long Abstract

Photography which began as a result of academic research is a 19th century technological invention made possible with the camera. Photography is a visual medium which like art conveys experiences which cannot be communicated in writing, numbers or speech. It is a visual mode of communication which in research contexts has helped to record events, people and places. This paper examines how photography intersects the visual arts and anthropology in a web of interactions within the research context. The visual arts refer to the post-Renaissance classification of art as including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photography, graphics, printmaking etc, while anthropology refers to the four main sub-disciplines of cultural, physical, archaeological and linguistic anthropology. Within the disciplines of art and anthropology, photography remains a critical tool for data collection, interpretation and analysis. The research method is qualitative and draws from observation of excerpts of photographs taken during the course of fieldwork in art and anthropology. The findings of the research show that photography, despite its manipulability remains the most authentic medium in recording and evaluating the world as we see it. The paper concludes that photography objectifies reality in providing pieces of evidence necessary to validate researches, and can in itself be a research method through which texts and narratives can be derived. It therefore recommends that photography should be strengthened as integral part of research in art and anthropology particularly that global knowledge in the 21st century is geared towards technology, computer, internet among others.

Basic photography as an integrated research tool in ethnographic fieldwork: a forty year case study

Author: Roy Ellen (University of Kent) email

Short Abstract

Most ethnographers use photography in the field without claiming to do ‘visual anthropology’. This paper reviews critically the ways in which photographs can be integrated into mainstream and specialist fieldwork by examining their use in the field by one ethnographer over a 40 year period.

Long Abstract

This presentation is motivated by the observation that most ethnographers use photography in the field without claiming to do 'visual anthropology', with its various aesthetic and theoretical commitments. Nor are most ethnographers more than basically competent as photographers. Elevating the subject to a technically specialist method is inevitable, but there is a danger that the significance of the everyday support purposes that photography serves will be ignored, diminished, remain un-theorised, and generally not receive the consideration they deserve. By examining critically the use of field photography by one ethnographer over a 40 year period, the paper will review the ways in which routine photography can be integrated into both mainstream and specialist fieldwork.

Specific attention with be paid to the practical issues of changing technology between between 1969 and 2009 and how these were managed at the time, and to some problems of old technologies in a digital age. There will also be discussion of the ways in which photographs are incorporated into field notes, catalogues and organised for subsequent use. It is argued that there are lessons to be learned for fieldwork practice, and for the creation, interpretation and use of photographic archives. Illustrations will be drawn from both general ethnographic work and from specialist applications in the areas of ritual, ethnobiology and material culture.

Automated System for Enhanced Scientific Computational Photography

Authors: Peter Fornaro email
Rudolf Gschwind (University Basel) email

Short Abstract

We show a system for enhanced capture of surface features of originals. The aim of the system is to transform as much information to the digital domain as possible. The solution consist of an UV/VIS/IR-LED lightdome and modern software to model BRDFs and to visualize and interlink digital objects.

Long Abstract

Todays digital technology incorporates various new possibilities for scientific photography. Digital cameras have high sensitivity in a wide spectral range. New LED light-sources allow the surface illumination with small bandwidths in the visible, UV and IR range. Modern software can visualize captured data in numerous ways, including surface reflection measurements, high fidelity color reproduction and 3D data.

In history scientific photography has been a commonly used method to visualize and document scientific effects and object features. In the early phase of the digital era scientific photography has mainly be used as a technology to convert analog originals to digital representations. In a simple case this was the reproduction of analog photographs, in the more sophisticated case for example sculptures have been digitized. Many of the well know scientific techniques are still not systematically applied in digital scientific photography even though the advantages are significant.

We present a solution that integrates a computer controllable LED light system, state of the art approaches for the modeling of BRDFs and a WebGL based visualization plug-in that can be integrated in a Virtual Research Environment called SALSAH. The whole system allows museums and archives to mass digitize numerous types of originals. Such an enhanced solution is an ideal approach to render originals accessible on the web in high quality and with high digital functionality for science and research. In addition the proposed system can be used to document the state of an object for example in the context of restorations.

Classroom Pictures: Eliciting attributions of cultural difference with primary school pupils

Author: Susan Guerber (Zurich University of Teacher Education) email

Short Abstract

Photographic representations of classrooms worldwide by Julian Germain serve as a visual foil against which Swiss pupils articulate their notions of what constitutes cultural difference in the classroom. Constructions of normalcy can be analysed on the basis of their comments on the photographs.

Long Abstract

This study of primary school childrens' perceptions of normalcy and deviation, cultural otherness and sameness within the everyday school setting of the classroom takes a novel approach on photography as a research method within the research field of educational anthropology, using photography as an art form in collaboration with the social sciences.

Applying the photo elicitation method (Douglas Harper, 2002) in an adapted form, the reception of the classroom photographs by the English photographer Julian Germain by primary school students in Zurich, Switzerland is of central importance to this approach. In Germain's photographs the real space of the classroom and the image space overlap. Due to the two-dimensional nature of the photographic representation the constructedness of the spatial and social setting of the classroom becomes ever more evident. An in-depth look at these visual representations of children of the same age in their classrooms in different countries allows the pupils to gain a de-familiarised access to the everyday setting of the classroom. This, I assume, sharpens or alters the perception of their own, presumably familiar classroom environment. While looking at the photographs and discussing them with their peers, the children are being filmed. On the basis of their comments constructions of normalcy can be analysed. How do they relate the photographs to their own everyday school experience? What looks foreign and strange to them, and why? What attributions of cultural difference can be identified?

I will discuss methodological issues and analytical findings on the basis of filmed sequences.

The production of space literature review and the 'space through production' photographs

Author: Jonathan Herring (Sheffield Hallam University) email

Short Abstract

This paper discusses: ideas and quotes from Henri Lefebvre’s, The Production of Space; and three recent images taken by myself that activate the text and vice versa. The image spaces that accompany this paper are concerned with the production of consumers in retail and leisure spaces.

Long Abstract

My concern with The Production of Space hovers primarily with the chapter The Plan of Present Work. The quotes used from here illuminate ideas of spatial politics and the human subject as part of production. I will argue the consequences of Lefebvre's philosophy apply to photography practice, often gravitating with critique on the capitalist mode of production. Lefebvre exists to as the spatial context to ideas of ideology in/and the image. The paper questions the notion Space through Production in image research. Key to discussion is representations of space that is material constructs like retail façade. And representational spaces, that is 'concern' for image production and production in the image. Representational spaces realise themselves as representations in the image. For example architecture is a representation of space, but as subject to image production it is also a representation in image space. The hanging of the image in gallery space constitutes a representation of space in a space of representations.

Marx is often associated with political economy. Marx is central to this paper, but in discussion of production and the spaces outlined. Creativity for Marx is that condition denied or limited by the practice of capitalism. Analysis of anthropology starts with ideas on Marx's human nature. I will tacitly set out the grounds that production, in and outside of the image, is best when freed from the constraints of capital. That man labours is science, but the commoditisation of labour is ideology. Capital, created and retained, is an ideology.

The performing body-in-space through the lens: The Living Museum in Namibia

Authors: Alicja Khatchikian (University of Vienna) email
Goda Palekaite (University of Vienna) email

Short Abstract

The project conceives body and space as one inseparable organism (body-in-space), and it investigates its performative and visual perception in the case of the San people and the context of commodification of their culture in Namibia. The project thus explores phenomenological problems through photography.

Long Abstract

The Living Museum in Grashoek, small village in the Kalahari Desert, invites visitors to experience the "authentic" and "traditional" together with the Ju/'hoansi San community. The culture of the San (also called Bushmen) is known as one of the world's oldest and the performed heritage easily attracts the touristic gaze. However, by performing the "original" lifestyle in a fictional village, the San do not practice their traditions otherwise.

In January 2014, a group of graduate students from the Social and Cultural Anthropology Dept., University of Vienna travels to Namibia to investigate how the commodification of culture affects the life of the San. The research will result in a scientific collection edited by Werner Zips.

Within this frame, we, Alicja Khatchikian and Goda Palekaite, develop a project of visual anthropology that focuses on the perception of the San-space, and the performance of the San-body within it. We are concerned with the inseparable relation between body and its environment that is perceived, according to Ingold, through embodied capacities or skills, where action and interaction is prior to structure. Further, following Foucault, we investigate the San performative experience as a technique for self-sustainability.

Along with participant observation, photography is our key-method for capturing visual and performative qualities of the body-in-space: while exploring "for-sale" Bushmen heritage such as hunting, ritual dancing, as well as life in "original" clay huts, photography becomes necessary to represent the non-verbal and non-structural perception. The camera lens enables sensorial qualities of light, texture, touch, etc. to play an equal role, thus becoming photography expression of phenomenological language rather than mere documentation.

Narrating Berlin

Author: Insa Langhorst email

Short Abstract

The paper looks at the way photography can be used as a research method in combination with psychogeography in order to visualise and exemplify the creation of meaning and its connection to memory and narration.

Long Abstract

The paper explores how places are created through storytelling. It looks at the potential of the "narrated space" in respect to identity and ideas of "Heimat". Through psychogeographical walks with different participants these questions are unravelled and demonstrate in what way new Berliner citizens create bonds with the space they live in through the stories they internalise.

As an element of the psychogeographical walks conducted, photography serves as a visualisation of how meaning is created in the process of remembering. Images of places and objects open to an infinite number of interpretations take on a new meaning in combination with the memories of participants. The paper shows the interactive and creative potential of photography in the context of research around place, memory and identity.

Hands on tools in Bahia: a photo ethnographic monograph

Author: Joao Pina-Cabral (University of Kent) email

Short Abstract

This paper deals with the use of photography in ethnographic analysis and writing by relation to the ergology of the fabrication of dugout canoes in coastal Bahia (Brazil).

Long Abstract

Having developed an interest in the way in which dugout canoes are indispensable media for survival in the mangroves of coastal Bahia, I was concerned to study the way in which the fishermen/carpenters related to this tool by means of the use of a series of other tools. Ultimately, the attention was placed on the hands of the carpenter as a media for reaching out into a world that thus became part of the fisherman/carpenter himself. The process of analysis of the material involved, on the one hand, a close companionship with the canoe carpenters themselves and, on the other hand, a specific mode of visual analysis. The result was a photoethnographic monograph (Dugout Canoes in Bahia. CD-Rom, ICS, Lisbon 2013). The present paper reflects upon how, through the use of reduced textual referents, it became possible to write a visual essay. This was only made possible due to the recent availability of large picture databases and the wide vulgarisation of picture analysis and editing processes.

Social visibility in the cemeteries of Mexico City: Photography and material culture of the dead

Author: Marcel Reyes-Cortez (Goldsmiths) email

Short Abstract

A visual methodology might be considered as an intrusive entry into the sacred spaces of the dead. Through a carefully development of photography as a methodology, combined with social research tools, my project resulted in a richer and fuller recording of the cemetery spaces in Mexico City.

Long Abstract

My research findings explore the array of complex levels of sociability found in the cemeteries Álvaro Obregón, México City. The spaces of the dead such as cemeteries are at times regarded as non-social spaces due to a believed negligible amount of daily social interaction and activity between the dead, their living and the space. My paper argues that the spaces of the dead, like the cemeteries of Álvaro Obregón are clear examples of active social and visual spaces in which the dead are daily socialised and memoralised through a combination of contemporary funerary practices and material culture.

My paper analyses the phenomenon, socio-cultural and political conditions of the dead in the private and public spaces dedicated to host them by the use of visual and sensorial methods, analysis and practice of still photography in collaboration with other more established ethnographic research methods. Including the investigation of life histories of the people who visit and work in the private and public spaces of the dead in order to explore why communities in México City have embraced material objects and photography in order to bond with their dead. The research explores deeper why photography is playing a greater role in the contemporary rituals dedicated to the dead in the cemeteries of a megalopolis.

Photographer in the field: collaborative visual work as a research methodology to investigate Indigenous self representation practices in Colombia

Author: Agata Lulkowska (Birkbeck) email

Short Abstract

This paper aims to investigate the role of visual representations of the indigenous peoples in Colombia, as a result of collaborative photography work of practise-based research.

Long Abstract

This paper aims to investigate the role of visual representations of the indigenous peoples in Colombia, as a result of collaborative photography work of practise-based research. It inspects the successes and failures of the intercultural dialogue, attempting to redefine ways of using visual media in academic, artistic and indigenous contexts.

The questions I would like to raise are: how does visual media negotiate the representations of its subjects? How do these representations create meanings? To what extent do such representations function outside of their original contexts? I will investigate the implications and responsibilities of creating visual imagery of fairly isolated communities (using the example of the Kogi community from the north of Colombia), the practicalities of such collaborations, and the attempts to define the outcomes of similar work.

The significance of the visual media for representing the Kogi culture in the wider audiovisual context is the main focal point for my paper. I find this question increasingly important in a world dominated by visual media, where the meaning and understanding of the world is less dependent on direct experience, and mostly negotiated by the information provided by visual materials. In the case of highly isolated communities, the importance of these visual mediations acquire particular relevance. So far, the presence of the camera and its significance as a mediator of the meaning, seems to be ignored in the existing documentaries. I find this absence an important subject for the discussion.

US Tourists' Photographic Memory Traces of Ireland

Authors: Sean T Ruane (Shannon College of Hotel Management) email
Bernadette Quinn (Dublin Institute of Technology) email

Short Abstract

This paper discusses US tourists' photographs of Ireland as sources of evidence and memory through which their construction of Ireland as a tourist destination can be explored.

Long Abstract

Haldrup and Larsen (2012) state that photographs taken by tourists while on holiday are a source of rich data, which researchers can avail of to gain a deeper understanding of the lives and behaviours of the tourist. Indeed, photographs create a discourse between the viewer and the world which is captured in it (Badger, 2007). This paper seeks to challenge the reader to think of tourists' photographs as sources of evidence and memory, which generate rich narratives in focus group settings, which extend beyond traditional observation or illustration. This theoretical exploration of tourists' photographs in focus group settings is supported by relevant findings from a phenomenographical study of how US tourists' consume and thereby make sense of Ireland as a place through practicing photography as part of 'being a tourist'.

Photography and Quilombola Identity in Brazil

Author: Suzana Ramos Coutinho (Mackenzie University) email

Short Abstract

Based on the study of Quilombos in Brazil, we seek to discuss the importance - through the use of photography- to think about new methods and strategies for data collection and analysis to provide a more accurate contribution to the understanding of the group in question.

Long Abstract

Wherever slavery flourished, so did resistance. Though the list of forms of resistance is long, one was present in Brazil - the formation of runaway slave communities, known in Brazil as quilombos. More than a century after the abolition of slavery, Brazil still has small remnant "quilombos", free settlements created by fugitive African slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries. Their inhabitants claim to be "remnants of quilombos", or "quilombolas".

This paper aims to present the peculiarities of a quilombola group in northern Brazil that, among other reasons, call the attention because, contrary to the predominant religion among quilombolas groups, draw their religious identity from Protestant elements (linked to the Brazilian Presbyterian Church ) and not to elements of african/Brazilian religions .

This background help us to discuss the transition and negotiation of this popular religiosity versus Protestant to a particular model of religiosity , which accommodate different elements belonging to the Brazilian religious scene and that help to create a specific perception of quilombola identity. Based on this reality, we seek to discuss the importance - through the use of photography- to think about new methods and strategies for data collection and analysis to provide a more accurate contribution to the understanding of the group in question.

Using photographs and images in autoethnographic research

Author: Stephen Ross (Middlesex University) email

Short Abstract

For my doctoral project I am experimenting with photographs in an autoethnographic narrative inquiry to make sense of transferable experiences, connections between my various professional roles, ontological perspective and ethically sensitive issues. I explore how photographs add value to research.

Long Abstract

For my doctoral project I am undertaking a narrative enquiry into my professional experiences in non-profit organisations to offer my communities of practice a different perspective of their own situations so as to make sense of them through 'reflective transfer'; transferring inferences and knowledge from one situation to another.

Working with qualitative data, I am looking for transferable rather than generalisable results so I need the potential to replicate the key variables. Does a photograph present a greater chance of resonating or being retained than simply writing about it? Can it work better as a visual metaphor?

I am also experimenting with photographs and images to understand how they contribute to my ontological perspective which informs my autoethnographic approach.

So I see photographs as a visual narrative integral to and providing a further dimension to the story. They are another way of 'discussing the undiscussable' about myself and the ethically sensitive situations I am researching. For analysing events in the past and moving into ongoing research, photographs can bridge my various roles and make connections that can provide insight.

However, I cannot just stick in photographs without an academic purpose or they could become irrelevant distractions but as a hermeneutic process to draw out meaning; they can translate and interpret between different experiences. By observing and capturing key aspects of the moment and the emotions that precipitates, photographs in autoethnographic research can act as a part of the triangulation between my writing and the views of others in the literature.

After the Agreement - Contemporary Photography in Northern Ireland

Author: Sarah Tuck (Brighton University and Belfast Exposed Gallery) email

Short Abstract

An investigation into the contestation of meaning that photographs catalyse and the ways in which this contestation transects debates on ‘post-conflict’ and ‘post-Agreement’ in Northern Ireland.

Long Abstract

In considering photography produced post the Good Friday Agreement (1998) which established the legal framework for power sharing in Northern Ireland my curatorial research seeks to subvert the consociationalist logic of the 'peace process' and the related lexicons of nationalism and identity politics. The research, conceived as a talk series, exhibition of photographs and publication of transcripts foregrounds an active, generative and creative engagement with photography to question what forms of knowledge are catalysed through a collaborative enquiry and experience of photographs. The research dramatises Ariella Azoulay's proposition of the 'event of photography' through establishing a group of co-researchers across disciplines (literature, architecture, law, visual arts) practice areas (curators, writers, visual artists) and communities (loyalist, nationalist) to consider the work of six photographers John Duncan and Kai Olaf Hesse; Paul Seawright and Malcolm Craig Gilbert and; Mary McIntyre and David Farrell.

The research proposes the use of a photograph beyond the purely illustrative or observational by reclaiming the liminal space of a photograph, as a critical site which can throw into relief the sectarianism that prevents a sense of shared cultural contemporaneity, and as a critical space from which to negotiate and signal new forms of post Agreement identity in the act of defining a future Northern Irish society. It therefore displaces any assumption of a photograph's relation to the real to explore how a photograph's meaning is negotiated through personal, social and visual affiliation and how photographs can be understood as potent affective and discursive spaces of translation.

Ethnographic portraits of franco-african medical research - Aesthetic choices, ethnographic captions and visual narratives in Niakhar, Senegal

Author: Ashley Ouvrier (University Paris Diderot/Inserm/IRD) email

Short Abstract

This paper focuses on a series of photographic portraits on traces and memories of medical research in Niakhar, Senegal. It discusses how aesthetic choices combine with ethnographic captions produce significant visual narratives without falling into the trap of exoticism or disaster iconography.

Long Abstract

The aim of this paper is to present a series of photographic portraits of research subjects and their intermediaries that is part of an ongoing anthropological research on traces and memories of medical research in Niakhar, Senegal. The discussion will focus on how aesthetic choices combine with ethnographic captions allow to produce significant visual narratives on a controversial topic without falling into the trap of exoticism or disaster iconography. In this approach, photography tries to meet the look of the ethnographer. Far from the stereotypes of clinical trials in developing countries, which are always presented in a dramatic way, these portraits wish to restore local actors' agency in the history of "oversea's" medical science. The pictures and their captions show how medical research in this area of Senegal is embedded in people's intimate narratives (a series of inhabitants are named after Senegalese or French scientific researchers) and professional trajectories (various inhabitants of the area have been hired as "fielworkers"). As the pictures will be presented in an upcoming exhibition in Senegal next February where protagonists will be present, the communication will also show how these images have been received and perceived.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.