Photovoice Methodology Overview

Photovoice is a technique that allows people to “identify, represent, and enhance their community” through the process of taking photographs of their everyday life experiences (Wang, Cash & Powers, 2000).   This participatory methodology has been demonstrated in other studies as an effective venue for enabling individuals to tell their story through the use of photography and offers an opportunity to document the struggles as well as areas of strength to promote critical dialogue and “to reach policy makers and the broader public about issues of concern” (Catalani & Minkler, 2009; Wang et al., 2000, p. 81).

This process enables individuals to self-select issues of greatest importance to them and communicate these concerns or realities through photographs to policy makers, healthcare providers, and influential advocates who might, unlike them, have a “voice” or be in a position to make changes for their benefit.  Photographs, as visual images, along with an analysis of the descriptions of the meanings attached to these photographs is a powerful method to explore and address the realities and perspective of vulnerable populations regarding their health and health care needs.  The seminal article by Wang and Burris (1997) stated the outcomes for photovoice include empowerment of the participants, assessment of community needs, and action steps to take within the community.

Catalani, C., & Minkler, M. (2009).  Photovoice: A review of the literature in health and public health.  Health Education and Behavior , Doi:10.1177/1090198109342084
Wang, C. & Burris, M. (1997).  Photovoice:  Concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment.  Health Education & Behavior, 24(3), 369-387.
Wang, C. C., Cash, J. L., & Powers, L. S. (2000).  Who knows the streets as well as the homeless?  Promoting personal and community action through Photovoice.  Health Promotion Practice, 1(1), 81-89.