Accepted Paper:

Hands on tools in Bahia: a photo ethnographic monograph  


Joao Pina-Cabral (University of Kent)

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with the use of photography in ethnographic analysis and writing by relation to the ergology of the fabrication of dugout canoes in coastal Bahia (Brazil).

Paper long abstract:

Having developed an interest in the way in which dugout canoes are indispensable media for survival in the mangroves of coastal Bahia, I was concerned to study the way in which the fishermen/carpenters related to this tool by means of the use of a series of other tools. Ultimately, the attention was placed on the hands of the carpenter as a media for reaching out into a world that thus became part of the fisherman/carpenter himself. The process of analysis of the material involved, on the one hand, a close companionship with the canoe carpenters themselves and, on the other hand, a specific mode of visual analysis. The result was a photoethnographic monograph (Dugout Canoes in Bahia. CD-Rom, ICS, Lisbon 2013). The present paper reflects upon how, through the use of reduced textual referents, it became possible to write a visual essay. This was only made possible due to the recent availability of large picture databases and the wide vulgarisation of picture analysis and editing processes.

Panel P28
Photography as a research method