Introduction to Cameras

Introduction to Cameras

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    13 Comments
    • Katina Sawyer

      June 28, 2021, 11:54 pm

      I will likely use smartphones, although I understand their limitations, because I’ll be conducting my work in corporate settings. Thus, the variability in the types of smartphones that folks have should be minimized. However, I would like to do an anonymous survey first to test that assumption. If I find that there is a lot of variability in phone quality, I would try to acquire funding for digital “point and shoot” options.

    • Philippa Simmonds

      June 29, 2021, 10:31 am

      I had originally planned for participants to use smartphone cameras, but after watching the video I’m considering whether to try to get point and shoot digital cameras. In my situation the risk with smartphone cameras is that participants’ smartphones are likely to vary in quality and age- indeed a few might not own a smartphone at all, so I don’t want to exclude those people. The main barrier to using point and shoot digital cameras for me is the cost- however I do have access to research funding that could cover this if I budget carefully. I also really like the idea of leaving the cameras with participants so they can continue to practice their skills and share photos long after the project is over.

    • Sam Pharoah

      June 29, 2021, 3:50 pm

      I have wanted to use point and shoot cameras in the past but worried that the more budget options would not give good enough results to keep participants enthusiastic (eg in low light etc) It’s reassuring to hear you happily rely on this option in your projects and I definitely see the value of leaving the cameras with participants. Kallina, can you recommend a camera model that you’ve found is up to the job? I have spent hours being geeky about which models might/might not work, with no decisions made, so would be good to hear any recommendations!

      On the point of disposable cameras – I absolutely agree about not wanting to give any suggestion that the participants’ views are also disposable so am not arguing this point at all. In the recent project we did, we did actually end up using them, but made sure at all times that we referred to them as ‘single use’ cameras. In this situation, the participants were still at risk of being in a vulnerable situation in their daily lives and we didn’t want to put them further at risk if others knew they had something that could be construed as ‘valuable’ (ie new digital camera) – we also didn’t know if we would see the participants more than once from first contact. From an artistic point of view, there was also something about the feel of the project that suited the ‘grittiness’ of film, which we could only practically achieve by using single-use cameras. It was a good exercise for me to test their possibilities and limits (the cameras), when I was so used to high-tec digital equipment. When we presented the project to the participants, the cameras were presented as something tangible and significant they were given to take away and bring back physically changed, with their images (like a box of memories). Participants knew they were expensive to process and some used multiple, knowing that whatever images they filled them with were very valuable to us. I am not arguing that these cameras should be widely used, especially with their disposable nature in an ‘eco’ sense, just that we found a situation where they seemed the right choice at the time and gave a good result creatively.

      In answer to the questions above, I would ideally use point and shoot cameras going forward, where budget allows and leave cameras with participants.

      I like the use of the four ‘Fs’. I used to use three ‘Fs’ as a starting point with adults with learning difficulties – ‘Framing, Focus, Fingers!’ (ie check fingers are not over the lens!)

      • PhotoVoice Training

        June 30, 2021, 1:40 pm

        Hi Sam, really good points raised. I will send you some links to cameras we use, We have used Fuji and then sony, there are a lot of refurbished cost-effective options available now with point and shoots becoming obsolete.

        You raise a very important question on risk and cameras which is something really important to consider. It is not always appropriate to use expensive cameras as that would put participants at risk. We have had many instances like this. Each project needs to be considered and it is hard to apply an across the board rule about how it should be done.

    • Kefilwe Batsalelwang

      June 29, 2021, 9:41 pm

      I would like to use smartphones as my participants will be teenagers. I understand limitations of smart phones but I think smartphones would be ideal. Some participants might not have smartphones or might have old phones but I will encourage them to bring suitable cameras. In order to avoid excluding/discriminating against those who do not have the smartphones, I will make a provision in the budget for standard smartphones to allow all participants to take part.

      It would it be interesting to leave participants with the cameras, so that they get motivated to continue telling their stories through their pictures/ taking pictures. Leaving them with smart phones would motivate them to participate, So if there is need for providing smartphones for participants I will do best to source funding for standard smartphones and provision for mobile data so that participants are able send their photos.

    • Andrea St.Hilaire

      June 30, 2021, 11:20 am

      I will be using smartphone camera features for ease of use with the ill adolescents. They can take pics on their phone or a parent’s phone, then easily send the pics to me through a secure, end-to-end encrypted smartphone app (called Signal). Because this is a (very) vulnerable population, navigating ethics board is going to be a challenge, so I want to remove any possible tangible, photo-taking complications for the participants (I want almost zero burden on them), and remove “middle man” developers who could see the pictures. (I am absolutely open to all suggestions from every person about this! Your insights are welcome! 🙂 )

    • Maria Bernardez Agrafojo

      June 30, 2021, 12:12 pm

      On our participatory photography project we will give participants smartphone cameras. All the phones will be exactly the same in each country, with the same features, SIM cards and internet bundles for all participants. By watching the video, I realised that giving participants point and short digital cameras could have been a better choice for many reasons. The use of a smartphone camera needs to have a lot of safe guarding procedures and ethics in place that need to be well explained to the participants. Nevertheless in all participatory photography projects, we need to make sure that all ethical requirements by the local councils/country are also in place and approved. But the main issue we encounter this year is the COVID-19 restrictions that the country might have. Some of the participants might not have access to travel to place where the workshop is taking place. Nevertheless, even if they can travel to the workshop, once they are back in their villages, etc the possibility of them sending the pictures to the facilitators might be complicated if not impossible. Some participants might not have access to computers to download their pictures and send by internet. Some will not be able to post the SD cards. We have decided therefore to use smartphones with internet bundles in order for them to be able to send us their photos via WhatsApp. There might be some quality issues of the photos in this case. We need to establish/look into that. We are planning to leave the smartphones with the participants, for the same reasons explained in the video.

      • PhotoVoice Training

        June 30, 2021, 1:44 pm

        Hi Maria, yes a lot to consider as smart phones do a lot more than just take photos, however, it does make things easier in other ways. We did discuss this with your colleagues and issues around sourcing and registering sim cards, amongst a few, also came up as considerations.

    • Ioanna Maneta

      June 30, 2021, 12:43 pm

      All asylum seekers and refugees who are currently residing at the hotspots in the Greek islands, rely on smartphones for a number of reasons, such as communicating with relatives in their country of origin, communicating with the different actors who contribute to their legal and protection support, receive information about the cash assistance they receive by UN agencies etc. In addition, the budget for greek humanitarian projects is becoming increasingly decreased (i.e. in order for example to procure new cameras, disposable or otherwise), so I would prefer that we use smartphone cameras, as these would be already available. Moreover, the use of one’s own camera would enhance the ownership of the result and the message to be conveyed, and the final photos could stay with the person who took them.

      On the other hand, people might be informed at any time that they will be transferred away from the islands, so in this case, a person’s work might disappear as well, if not saved or kept elsewhere. A number of challenges may also ensue in terms of confidentiality, as the government does allow people to take photographs of some sites, so in some cases, many of the photographs taken for example within a hotspot, might convey the message that the person wants to show, but might not be legal to be used for publication.

    • Madeleine Penfold

      June 30, 2021, 12:44 pm

      I had planned to use point-and-shoot cameras. After listening to the overview of different camera options, it feels clear that this is the best option.
      The children I will be teaching may not be able to understand the technicalities of an SLR.

      Disposable and analogue does not allow for feedback.

      Unfortunately, the participants may not be able to keep the cameras. However, I will be reaching out to camera providers to see if there is a discount or scheme to allow an avenue for children and their families to be able to afford cameras.

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