‘Participatory photography – letting people make images that tell their own life stories’ – Kyle Knight
Participatory photography, sometimes referred to as ‘photovoice’, is a methodology used in human and community development that combines photography with self-development, creative expression and grassroots social action. A group of people are provided with cameras and through a series of workshops are offered the opportunity to express themselves and document an issue or problem that affects themselves and/or the people and the communities around them. The aim is to support people to define, communicate and improve their situation.
Participants are asked to represent their community or point of view by taking photographs, discussing them together, developing narratives to go with their photos, and conducting outreach or other action. It is intended to give insight into how people can conceptualise their circumstances and their hopes for the future. As a form of community consultation, photovoice attempts to bring the perspectives of those “who lead lives that are different from those traditionally in control of the means for imaging the world” into the policy-making process. It is also a response to issues raised over the authorship of representation of communities.
Participatory photography is the process by which people use photography to record and reflect their lives from their own point of view. Through doing this their collective knowledge about community issues is increased and used to inform policy makers and the broader society about issues of greatest concern and pride to them with the aim of bringing about change.
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