Introduction to Cameras

Introduction to Cameras

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    • Maureen Seguin

      April 27, 2021, 11:25 am

      The participants (n~10) in my research study are residents in potentially hazardous/unsuitable housing in the London Borough of Hackney. We plan to use cameras that the participants already own, likely camera phones. Should participants not own a camera phone, we will provide them with a camera, likely a digital camera. Whilst there are some drawbacks to this (the participants may have different cameras), there is no alternative due to the financial limitations of the project – there is no budget for buying everyone cameras. Also, should we provide everyone with digital cameras, I wonder if people would prefer to use their camera phone anyway?

      As we are not planning on providing the cameras (in most circumstances), we will not be leaving the cameras with participants. If we do buy some digital cameras for some participants, I believe we are leaving them with the participants.

      • PhotoVoice Training

        April 27, 2021, 11:05 pm

        Hi Maureen, 10 is a good number of participants. We normally recommend, for in person delivery, a maximum number of 10-12 participants. Phones are becoming a more viable way of running projects like this, however, the key thing is to make sure that all risks are assessed and considered. Safe sharing, even playing ground etc. For a UK context ,leaving cameras with participants would be preferable but does not pose a major risk if that is not the case. Regarding your comment that people might prefer that, which might be the case in some instances, we find that people can also be very excited to use an exclusive photography tool, which somehow can make the process more special for some.

    • Sonia Rego

      April 27, 2021, 1:01 pm

      The project will be delivered offline. We will be purchasing smartphones with 5 megapixel cameras (I am told this is good?). Participants (estimate: 32 people across 4 countries) will keep the phones after.


      – because we will be providing the smartphones, there will be no uneven dynamic
      – affordable (as opposed to SLRs)
      – can share photos easily with facilitators


      – complications around consent (less control over photograph sharing)
      – phones need to be selected for good pixel quality

      • PhotoVoice Training

        April 27, 2021, 10:56 pm

        Hi Sonia, this sounds really good. 5 megapixels might be ok for digital photos but not great for printing photos, whether that would be sufficient would depend on what you plan to do with the photos. There are also things to consider with regards to phones in terms of how these would be accepted within the communities you plan to work with. There are potential risks of participants being pressured to share phones, as they have functionality beyond the camera. Just something to think about. Also, undoubtedly you have probably considered data connectivity and how that would work beyond the workshop phase of the project.

    • Natasha Mulder

      April 27, 2021, 1:35 pm

      I am very interested to hear about the potential safeguarding issues which could arise if leaving the cameras with the participants after the workshops. My immediate thoughts are around participants status in the community which is mostly a positive but can potentially cause conflict. Are there other considerations which should be taken into account?

      • PhotoVoice Training

        April 27, 2021, 10:50 pm

        Hi Natasha, there are definitely situation where risk would need to be evaluated with regards to leaving the cameras. There are a number of circumstances which would put participants at risk even for the duration of the training. For example, targeting people due to being in possession of cameras that might be deemed as valuable, is something that would need to be evaluated and carefully considered. Due to this ,there might be situations where perhaps this approach might not be the most suitable.

    • Avi Ratnayake

      April 27, 2021, 11:20 pm

      SLR – slow turn around times, costly, limited number of shots, potentially steeper learning curve, limited resources to develop, no review, satisfying
      Disposable – inconsistent or poor quality, slow turn around times, costly, limited resources to develop, no review, lacking trust, no continual use
      Smartphone – inconsistent quality of tech, no level playing field, photos may reach networks outside of project, accessible, cost effective, quick turn around times,
      reviewable, no need for a computer
      DSLR – superior quality, trust/rapport building, expensive, bulky, heavy, reviewable, quicker learning curve, not as accessible, conspicuous, satisfying, need for computer,
      level playing field, quick turn around times
      Digital PnS – standardized/adequate quality, cost effective, accessible, versatile/portable, reviewable, easier to use, inconspicuous, need a computer, level playing
      field, quick turn around times, trust/rapport building.

      Yes if funding permits the supply of cameras, yes of course. I believe apart from participants being able to continue using this tool and having a voice, it helps establish a better level of trust from the start.

    • Pwint

      April 28, 2021, 4:46 am

      The project will deliver offline and we planned to run with point and shoot digital compact cameras. Planning to deliver and implement with around 8¬10 participants training for technical views on cameras and we will not keep the cameras after.

      – Easily accessible and easy to use
      – Suitable to use for everyone
      – Can share photos easily

      – Have conflicts in consent issue
      – needs time to be familiar with the cameras and users about technically
      – Damage case

    • Natalie Hunfalvay

      April 28, 2021, 4:52 am

      My upcoming group are 12 – 25 year olds. I would like to use point and shoot if possible, but I’m not sure yet as we don’t have enough funds to buy, but could possibly get some donations/ loans, at least for the purpose of the project. The back up would be phones, but especially considering their age group I’m a little concerned about the temptation to upload images, and also the distraction.

      The other group I may be working with are pre-schoolers (TBC) for which I would like to use point and shoot.

      Kallina, would you mind please sharing some of the specific ways you manage these issues with groups using phones?

      Thank you!

      • PhotoVoice Training

        May 10, 2021, 7:42 pm

        Hi Natalie, is this all one group within this age group bracket? Our recommendation would be to separate participants in appropriate age groups. With regards to the use of phones we are still very weary of using phones in an ‘in person’ workshop environment for some of the reasons mentioned in the video and also the ones you have listed. We would recommend setting up a safe sharing guideline which you go through with the participants on the first day in a similar fashion like the ground rules, making sure all participants are on the same page about this.

    • Steven Cutts

      April 28, 2021, 6:51 am

      Planned photo programs will be approx 8 particiapants / capped at around 10 at around 16-25 years old. Ideally I would like to use DSLR’s for the programming because it feels different from taking photos on phones. Putting cameras up to the eye is a different and often novel experience for people who haven’t used cameras before. Also being able to adjust control and having different settings can help with a scaffolded learning approach. If people have smart phones we could download some third party camera apps just to give a little bit more control over the picture taking and reinforcing what settings can do and why.
      Dependent on funding it would be preferable to leave cameras with participants so they can practice what they learn in the workshops.

      • PhotoVoice Training

        May 10, 2021, 7:50 pm

        Perhaps having a couple of groups where the younger ones aren’t necessarily mixing with the older ones would be something to consider. DSLRs are really good and on your point about cameras being almost a novelty is absolutely something we feel is definitely the case. Even just having a device that does only photography would put participants in a different headspace regarding the process of photography. It sounds like skills development is important in your project so this would be a really good approach.


      April 28, 2021, 7:56 am

      Small digital cameras,as they are easy to use for about 10-15 people, but it really depends on funding. The cameras would be left with the participants at the end of the project. We are also considering just using smart phones though as people may be more comfortable with those.

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