What Is A Photovoice Essay

Examination 27.10.2019

Here, the narrators used photographs to express their hopes, problems and successes. Through the narrative arc of photographs and their captions, we learned start essay with qoute the lives of essay underage combatants before, during and after life in armed groups.

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These photographs illustrate how these individuals processed their own experiences, what issues were most important to them and their sources of vulnerability and resilience. PhotoVoice is a essay that uses photographs to show how a person experiences and understands essay phenomena and disease.

Like body mapping, PhotoVoice essays can what emotions and memories, as well as physical and psychological experiences.

What is a photovoice essay

This approach allows individuals to express themselves in a essay format that requires no previous essay with a camera or research. Each person serves as the documentarian of their own story, with the power to define the issues what important to them.

Former underage combatants and community members who participated in this part of the project shared stories about the relationships and opportunities they lost when they joined an armed group, the trauma they experienced as combatants and the obstacles they continued to face as they sought to reintegrate into civilian life.

Participants featured a wide essay of subjects in their photographs and used both literal and metaphorical representations of their experiences. Former underage combatants re-enacted memorable moments from their lives, demonstrating the traumas they survived in the forest and the struggles they met what ap language persuasive essay prompts home.

What is a photovoice essay

They also captured images of what people in their lives, including family members and teachers from reintegration programs. The photographs also illustrate how objects take on new meaning as participants used them as metaphors for their experiences. When analyzed collectively, these photographic essays speak to the common struggles of former underage combatants, while what examining gendered and geographic differences.

This approach allows individuals to express themselves in a visual format that requires no previous experience with a camera or research. Each person serves as the documentarian of their own story, with the power to define the issues most important to them. Former underage combatants and community members who participated in this part of the project shared stories about the relationships and opportunities they lost when they joined an armed group, the trauma they experienced as combatants and the obstacles they continued to face as they sought to reintegrate into civilian life. Participants featured a wide range of subjects in their photographs and used both literal and metaphorical representations of their experiences. Depending on the population from which they come, participants in some projects might never have used a camera before, while those in others might be quite comfortable with one. In either case, they should be trained in the basic techniques of documentary photography and the use of the equipment. They should also receive some grounding in photographic ethics and in keeping themselves safe while photographing. At the same time, the staff of the sponsoring organization needs training in the same areas as the participants, and in anticipating and handling situations that might arise from the process. Photographs can have an emotional as well as a documentary and aesthetic content, both for those who take them and for others in the group. In addition, photographers might be threatened or faced with arrest or physical danger, or might tread on ethically questionable ground. Staff must be prepared to deal with all of these possibilities to protect both the emotional and physical health of participants and the integrity of the project. Participants need support. Participants must have the chance to show and discuss their photos. They need a safe and supportive environment in which they can learn a new skill and gain confidence in their ability to express opinions and ideas. The project should result in some action. Participants should have the chance to see their photos used in a positive and significant way. Putting together a Photovoice project So…how might you put together a Photovoice project? It is important that group members should have the option of declining participation. It may be appropriate to ask participants to sign a release stating that they keep the copyrights to any photos they take, and that they understand the conditions of the project, will return cameras, and will allow their photos to be part of an exhibition with the option of remaining anonymous. In the case of a school program, this role might be taken by a classroom teacher with an interest in photography; in an NGO, it may be assumed by a staff member. In many cases, the mentor role might be filled by a volunteer professional or serious amateur photographer. This person may also provide emotional support, as well as information about photography in general and encouragement and further instruction for those who want it. Staff members or volunteers of an organization, agency, or institution may act as facilitators, as resources, or may actually conduct most aspects of the project. If the participant group is relatively small, and the number of staff or volunteers is as well, it might include everyone involved. It is often difficult to say whether recruitment or planning comes first. A project can be planned with representatives of the group or community from which participants will come, with the understanding that some or all of these people may want to participate along with others recruited later. The same is true for staff and volunteers. The ideal is probably that recruitment should come first, so that the participatory planning process is just that. In any case, the planning process should be as participatory as possible so that it will be owned by the participants, staff, and volunteers who take part in the project. Another consideration here is whether to involve community officials or policy makers in the project from the beginning, perhaps as sponsors or even in a more active role. In such a case, consider carefully whether the advantages outweigh potential disadvantages. This should include use of the camera equipment and the techniques of photography. This may include operating the camera, composition, how to adjust for light conditions using film and shutter speed and other techniques, the use of a flash, editing digitally or otherwise , how to shoot moving subjects, etc. Training in ethical and safe photography in various situations. Shooting on the street or throughout a city or other area, as is the case with many projects, participants may find themselves in situations where they may be catching subjects in private, embarrassing, or illegal behavior. When is it ethical to take such photos? How do you ask permission to take a photo? Should you ask subjects to sign a release form? Should you offer them a copy of the picture? How do you react if the subject refuses? Furthermore, how do you protect yourself in dangerous situations, where people may be engaged in illegal activity or may be aggressive? Just carrying a camera may be enough to put a participant in danger. A full discussion of ethics and safety is beyond the scope of this section. Some useful resources in this area are a chapter on Photovoice in a guidebook from the Innovation Center , which also includes an outline of a Photovoice project and forms for various elements of it, including a subject release form; and the Photovoice UK statement of ethical practice. Group-building and training in working in a group. Setting ground rules, making clear why ground rules are necessary, emphasizing the collaborative nature of group activity, structuring the group as a mutually supportive team, teaching listening skills, and engaging in group-building exercises can all serve to make working in a group easier for those with little experience with it. Staff members should have some skills that allow them to handle emotional reactions that arise for participants as a result of the photos and discussion of them, or as a result of incidents that occur in the course of the project. Perhaps most important, staff members, whether professional or volunteer, should understand the structure and the aims of the project. For a Photovoice project to be successful in helping participants gain a voice, participants have to do both the documentary and the emotional work themselves. That means that staff members must be able to encourage and support participants throughout their involvement without doing things for them. Get out and take pictures The best way to learn photography is to practice it and get feedback. Once participants have the basic knowledge they need, the next step is for them to begin to take pictures of whatever seems to them to explain or reflect the chosen topic s. Two important considerations that should be worked out during planning are time and equipment. The photography phase of a Photovoice project can last as little as a week or two or as long as a year or more. Deciding on a length of time may depend on resources, on the situation of the participants, on other needs of the organization, etc. The equipment question is partially a financial one. Disposable cameras, complete with film processing most disposable cameras still use film , are inexpensive, but they only allow a limited number of pictures — generally fewer than Low-end digital cameras, while relatively inexpensive, nonetheless are about five times the cost of a disposable camera. Furthermore, if the project is to last a long time, the expense might come out even, or even be cheaper with digital cameras. Disposable cameras are cheaper, but digital cameras are more flexible and forgiving. However, there is something to be said for limiting the number of shots beginning photographers can take, which requires them to be thoughtful about every shot. These days, there are relatively low-cost devices, such as flip-cams, that capture high-definition video. These point-and-shoot devices are easy to use and can be a great way to capture and easily share footage. This group might be composed of all participants if the project is small a dozen or fewer participants , or with a subset of the participants if the project is larger. In these groups, participants show their photographs and explain why they took them. They might discuss such topics as whether the scene evoked particular feelings for them, and how they think the pictures might be viewed by others. They can receive feedback from others in the group about how the pictures strike them, whether they bring up ideas or feelings, and whether a photo seems to make its point well. Reflection is often the most important part of both intellectual and personal development, and the opportunity for reflection is absolutely critical. The group discussion is also an opportunity for each participant, with help from the group, to choose the pictures of hers that can best be used to influence policy makers and the public. If the pictures from the project are meant to bring about change, they have to have a strong effect on those who see them. The group and facilitator can supportively help each participant understand which of her pictures are most likely to do that and why. As the project progresses and participants gain self-confidence and skill, some previously chosen photos may be discarded in favor of ones that do the job better. The goal is to have, at the end of the photography phase, a group of photographs that can be used to make a powerful statement about the chosen issues or conditions. For example, after the final reflection at the end of the year, students described Photovoice as a creative means to reflect on their experiences, values, and worldviews related to their professional identity. Additionally, several students noted their enthusiasm for the potential to implement Photovoice with future clients as a critical reflection strategy. While some students noted initially that they felt individual photographs could not capture the essence of social work entirely, they quickly realized at the end of the year that the collective gallery of photos provided a visual summary of their process in their advanced year. Student galleries demonstrated their connection to place, to people, to self, and to their future directions. For most students these were very personal artifacts representing their experience. For programmatic purposes, at the end of the year the author rated all students on the nine program competencies and identified strengths and skills gained by each student over the course of the year. Competency nine, which states that students will be able to evaluate their own practice, was a high achieving standard for all ten students in this seminar. In the final reflection, students critically reflected on their own practice, what they gained throughout the year including lessons learned, and to what extent Photovoice enhanced the development of their professional identity. A key theme in the discussion revealed that Photovoice was a unique medium for them to reflect on their identity as social workers without focusing on specific tasks, roles, or scenarios from their internships. Because students were required to take pictures of objects and places rather than people and faces, they often chose to take pictures of nature, the rural physical environment in which they live, the spiritual and cultural aspects of their lives that contribute to their understandings of advanced generalist practice, and most of all their commitment to cultural humility. The final reflection of this seminar strongly indicated students had a clear sense of fit between professional and personal values. Throughout the year the Photovoice activities offered a creative and alternative medium for students to critically reflect on the prompts. Even the shyest students became more open when they shared their photos and in general, dialogue in the class often referred back to the photographs even when they were not engaged in a Photovoice reflection. While the Photovoice reflection activities were meaningful and rich, there were some challenges with implementing the method as a teaching strategy. Had the project been discontinued, the value for the frames and photo paper would have been lost and the class would have needed to identify replacement activities on scheduled dates. Thus, schedule flexibility was essential, which is not always an option in a busy semester with student learning agreements, case presentations, and other reflection assignments. In another instance requiring flexibility, on one occasion, there were two students who did not submit photos due to time constraints, but still attended seminar. To ensure their participation for class that day, they were encouraged to reflect on the prompt without a photograph as well as provide insight and feedback for their classmates during the reflection. Finally, the Photovoice activities were believed to be successful because they were implemented with advanced year MSW students. Older and more experienced students understood the ethics behind taking pictures of objects and places rather than people and faces. It is possible in an undergraduate field seminar or foundation year graduate seminar, the discussion of ethics and confidentiality would need to be a lengthier conversation before any photography could take place. Changes in our global environment are requiring future social workers to incorporate transformative social responses, including identifying innovations to strengthen individual and collective assets. Thus, incorporating this new teaching strategy provided an opportunity for critical reflection in seminar and also taught students a new skill they can utilize in the field. Additionally, learning through Photovoice allowed students to identify ways in which they may bring a wider array of help to more individuals and communities through a form of participatory action research and critical reflection that incorporates technology. In order to advance this teaching strategy, recommendations include structured and formalized scholarship of teaching and learning SoTL be conducted to fully pilot and understand the impact of Photovoice as a critical reflection strategy for students and their associated learning outcomes. Furthermore, future research is recommended in order to fully understand the relationship of Photovoice to the development of professional identity in social work students, particularly in their field seminars.