Visualizing the neighbourhood: participatory photo research put into question
(Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)
Paper short abstract:
How do local residents see their neighborhood especially when the neighborhood is known as one of the "most diverse places on earth"? Does this diversity come into play when asked to take photographs of their everyday surrounding? How do their visual representations differ from others?
Paper long abstract:
This presentation seeks to contribute to the body of work concerned with photovoice and photo elicitation projects with reference to my fieldwork in Astoria, New York City (within the Globaldivercities Project at the Max Planck Institute). There is a notable upsurge recently in using visual methods in studying the everyday practices. I used photography, video and mapping strategies alongside the more traditional ways of doing ethnographic participant-observation to investigate the processes of everyday interactions amongst diverse people and the notion of public space. Therefore I planned a photo project with local residents to show me their view of the neighborhood. Astoria is known as one of the "most diverse places on earth". Articles about the neighborhood promote not only the diversity of ethnicities but also e.g. diverse cuisines. Would locals represent their quarter the same way? I asked some people - who are as diverse as the neighborhood itself - if they would take photographs of their neighborhood which are "typical" for the area. What kind of picture would they take to present their quarter to an outsider? Additionally I asked also for pictures of public spaces and places of interaction in particular. After the photographs were developed I met with each participant individually and talked about the pictures. I shall discuss findings but also challenges of working with cameras in participatory photo research projects.
Collaboration in visual work: with whom, how, what for? (VANEASA)