Photovoice ethics: Perspectives from Flint photovoice

Wang, C. C., & Redwood-Jones, Y. A. (2001). Photovoice ethics: Perspectives from Flint photovoice. Health education & behavior, 28(5), 560-572.

Abstract: Photovoice is a participatory health promotion strategy in which people use cameras to document their health and work realities. As participants engage in a group process of critical reflection, they may advocate for change in their communities by using the power of their images and stories to communicate with policy makers. In public health initiatives from China to California, community people have used photovoice to carry out participatory needs assessment, conduct participatory evaluation, and reach policy makers to improve community health. This article begins to address ethical issues raised by the use of photovoice: the potential for invasion of privacy and how that may be prevented; issues in recruitment, representation, participation, and advocacy; and specific methodological techniques that should be used to minimize participants’ risks and to maximize benefits. The authors describe lessons learned from the large-scale Flint Photovoice involving youth, adults, and policy makers.


Youth participation in photovoice as a strategy for community change

Wang, C. C. (2006). Youth participation in photovoice as a strategy for community change. Journal of Community Practice, 14(1-2), 147-161.

This article introduces photovoice as a participatory action research tool rooted in democratic ideals that the youth can use at the community to advocate for social change. An overview of photovoice in terms of the areas where it can be used in, such as in feminist theory and community-based participatory research, is discussed. The author also outlines a nine-step strategy to mobilize community action through photovoice including how to recruit the participants, how to introduce the photovoice method to participants, how to obtain consent and how to discuss photographs and identify themes once the photographs are taken. The article includes specific examples of projects where the youth used photovoice for community action. These projects inform the discussion part of the article. Further, ethical issues arising from the use of photovoice as a method are discussed. Such ethical issues to consider include vulnerability of youth participants and the risks that they might face in the process of taking pictures. An article ‘Photovoice Ethics’ is recommended for researchers considering using this method in research.

Wang, C.C., & Redwood-Jones, Y. (1997). Photovoice ethics. Health Education and Behavior, 24(3), 369-387.

Images for change: community development, community arts and photography

Purcell, R. (2009). Images for change: community development, community arts and photography. Community Development Journal, 44(1), 111-122.

Photography as a means of achieving community development goals is the subject of this article. It is introduced with three ways that community development is achieved with specific examples in the UK; community development as projects directed by the government, as community- generated and as a partnership between the government and the community. In the partnership approach power relations emerge and it is at this point, that the author suggests, photography comes in to give voice to otherwise hidden community-based problems. The author moves from broadly discussing the benefits of arts in community development then specifically addresses the contribution of photography to community development. Three aspects of photography in relation to development are discussed; photo-elicitation, photo-novella, and photovoice. Specific examples in the UK are given of how photovoice works in development. To conclude the author mentions the aspect of organizations or researchers using the local people, with a method such as photovoice, for their own organizational ends.

Photovoice: Concept, Methodology, and Use for Participatory Needs Assessment

Wang, C., & Burris, M. A. (1997). Photovoice: Concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health education & behavior, 24(3), 369-387.

Abstract: Photovoice is a process by which people can identify, represent, and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique. As a practice based in the production of knowledge, photovoice has three main goals: (1) to enable people to record and reflect their community’s strengths and concerns, (2) to promote critical dialogue and knowledge about important issues through large and small group discussion of photographs, and (3) to reach policymakers. Applying photovoice to public health promotion, the authors describe the methodology and analyze its value for participatory needs assessment. They discuss the development of the photovoice concept, advantages and disadvantages, key elements, participatory analysis, materials and resources, and implications for practice.

Picturing community development work in Uganda: fostering dialogue through photovoice

Bananuka, T., & John, V. M. (2014). Picturing community development work in Uganda: fostering dialogue through photovoice. Community Development Journal, bsu036.

This article is based on the use of photovoice as a method in development research work as done in Uganda. Photovoice is defined as a ‘non-text’ method of doing participatory research that can be used for, among other benefits, its empowering potential of those involved in research. The authors start by giving a brief introduction of the use of photovoice as a method in social sciences. They then show how photovoice as a method allows community development workers to present their work and roles at the community through their own perspective. This is particularly important because their work is often presented from external points of view. Further, the research process in this particular project from generating data through photovoice to analyzing this data is addressed. Ethical issues arising from using photovoice were also considered and the researcher’s power in the research process is acknowledged. From their findings the authors argue that photovoice can be a framework that allows for dialogue in multiple ways to occur for example between the researcher and the participants, the researcher and self and a community level dialogue.