Making photographs as a part of a research project: Photo-documentation, photo-elicitation and photo-essays
As much as I admire photography, I did not think it was highly used in doing research nonetheless that there are even three main methods such as photo-documentation, photo-elicitation and photo-essays. Before reading I asked myself ‘How can a successful research be based on photographs?’ but apparently I am not the only one in doubt as besides people who say that ‘photographs are the evidence of the real’ there are still people who believe that ‘the interpretation of photos is always context-specific’ which I totally agree with.
At first glance the reading looked a bit scary because it is 30 pages of plain text but as soon I started reading it got me engaged because the writer did a great job introducing the readers with the main differences between all of the methods as each of the chapters are really descriptive and written in a very understandable language. However, I would prefer if the analysis about photo-documentation was a little bit more detailed because that one didn’t look as informative as the other two.
I found the chapter about photo-elicitation the most interesting because this way of research seemed very unusual (even though the text stated that it is a really widely used research method). As there is a full description of how to do a proper photo-elicitation research interview, it got me really curious and made me want to actually try it out as I have never even heard about this method before.
In conclusion, I would like to mention that I strongly agree that ‘images can present the things that words cannot’ and that pictures can make research a lot more informative/entertaining. However, these research methods require a lot of creativity of the researcher because you have to be able to see things from a slightly different perspective, notice details that might seem too ordinary to notice, and interpret casual things in a new way.
* Rose, G. (2007). “Making photographs as part of a research project: Photo-elicitation, photo-documentation and other uses of photos.” Visual Methodologies. London  Sage Publ. 237-256.