August 24, 2021, 2:35 pm
For the project we are about to start, participants will use their own smartphone cameras. This project will be done online, so there is less of a concern about differences between phones, jealousy etc. We have given a lot of consideration to ethical issues and will discuss these with participants, including sharing of photographs and getting consent.
Advantages of participants using their own smartphones are that they are already familiar with them and know how to use them and (for us) that there are no additional cost implications (no funding for cameras for all). If any participants don’t have a smartphone with camera, we will lend them digital cameras.
In future projects, I would consider using digital cameras (for participants to keep). These would need to be costed into funding.
August 24, 2021, 6:24 pm
We will be using smartphones with our participants and the project will be done online via one-on-one interviews. While there probably wont be concerns of differences between phones I do have concerns about the quality of the photos as not all smartphones have good, quality cameras. We will keep that in mind, and it also made me think of potentially ordering iPod touches that have pretty decent specs in quality. In addition to previous comments, advantages of smartphones are its easy accessibility or ability to take photos anywhere and most of these phones do have a password protected option (fingerprints, pins, face recognition), so perhaps privacy is less of an issue.
August 24, 2021, 9:33 pm
I am still at an early stage of the project, and I initially thought about using disposable cameras. But after watching the video I understand the concerns raised by this approach and will reconsider. Digital cameras would be a valuable option, but funding would be an issue. I will explore the possibility of using personal smartphones and an online platform.
August 24, 2021, 10:33 pm
I will be using funding from my project to provide cameras for the participants. Due to accessibility differences, some of these will have to be adapted for use with mobility, dexterity and other difficulties, but I want to base them on a point and press digital camera, all with similar capabilities. For me, the most important thing is that participants have as much agency as possible, and are able to choose subjects and framing with as little outside help as possible. Cameras that are robust will also be what we are looking for. Some participants will have the physical ability to make more sophisticated choices in terms of using the camera to focus on specific areas, or even move closer to something they want to photograph, but I hope that with the right equipment we will see empowered artistic visual choice in action.
I do intend leaving the cameras with the participants, as I hope that this experience is one which can continue, and one that they will feel confident in using for ongoing advocacy and action.
August 25, 2021, 4:12 am
I’m thinking of using PhotoVoice and related methodologies in a few very different sorts of communities over the next year or so. One of those populations is unhoused folks in Jackson County Oregon, where I’m working with a coalition of non profit groups to advocate for the creation of a non-police mobile crisis response team (akin to “CAHOOTS” if people are familiar with that). Additionally, in my professional role I help run the Belonging Project at Stanford University, where we conduct trainings and workshops focused on creating a greater culture of belonging. I’d like to use photovoice in both of these context.
Among Stanford students there is really no need to provide cameras. Smartphones, and, frankly, much nicer DSLRs and the like, are owned by basically all the students.
Among unhoused folks, I think I would need to start with a needs assessment. This is a truly marginalized population, not for lack of resources but due to lack of stability — it is commonplace for unhoused folks to have all of their belongings stolen or destroyed by police and other civil servants, destroyed by weather, lost, or stolen by other people within their communities. However, many members of this community have jobs or other forms of income, and smartphones have become a de facto necessity for most people with jobs in the US. I would not assume that there is a need for cameras in the unhoused community here… but I would want to have a plan in place if it is a need.
In the past — before the ubiquity of smartphones — I’ve partnered with highly vulnerable or marginalized communities which did not have access to cameras in the creation of participatory videos. In those contexts it was important to us, despite scant resources, to leave the cameras in the community when we completed the work.
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