Accepted Paper:

Intersecting Photography, Art and Anthropology in a Research Context  


Victor Ecoma (University of Calabar)

Paper short abstract:

Research remains a systematic enquiry aimed at increasing the stock of knowledge in a given area of study, which includes knowledge about man, culture and society.

Paper long abstract:

Photography which began as a result of academic research is a 19th century technological invention made possible with the camera. Photography is a visual medium which like art conveys experiences which cannot be communicated in writing, numbers or speech. It is a visual mode of communication which in research contexts has helped to record events, people and places. This paper examines how photography intersects the visual arts and anthropology in a web of interactions within the research context. The visual arts refer to the post-Renaissance classification of art as including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photography, graphics, printmaking etc, while anthropology refers to the four main sub-disciplines of cultural, physical, archaeological and linguistic anthropology. Within the disciplines of art and anthropology, photography remains a critical tool for data collection, interpretation and analysis. The research method is qualitative and draws from observation of excerpts of photographs taken during the course of fieldwork in art and anthropology. The findings of the research show that photography, despite its manipulability remains the most authentic medium in recording and evaluating the world as we see it. The paper concludes that photography objectifies reality in providing pieces of evidence necessary to validate researches, and can in itself be a research method through which texts and narratives can be derived. It therefore recommends that photography should be strengthened as integral part of research in art and anthropology particularly that global knowledge in the 21st century is geared towards technology, computer, internet among others.

Panel P28
Photography as a research method