Photography and Film

Participants at the May 2016 workshop in London discussing the use of photography and film

Participants at the May 2016 workshop in London discussing the use of photography and film

This page provides information and resources about using photography and film as creative methods for use in research, community engagement, and dialogue creation. The pages includes details of the photography and film mini-workshop held in London on the 11th of May 2016 as part of the BSUFN, FRC and CAWR workshop. In addition, there are details of publications and other resources which are relevant.

All images and photographs are courtesy of and copyright to: the Food Research Collaboration, Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network, the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, and individual participants of the workshop held on the 11th of May 2016 at City University London.

Photography, Film, Community, and Food

There are numerous ways in which photography and film can be used as a method for research projects, community engagement, and communication. These will be briefly introduced here with links to relevant external resources for information.

During the workshop in London in May 2016, participants of the photography and film mini-workshop began by discussing uses of photos and film related to food. Ideas and suggestions included:

  • There is now a culture of photographing meals before eating them and sharing the photos on social media. This can build a narrative about the way people engage with food and what they seek to communicate when sharing photos of meals.
  • Use as a food diary to more accurately recall meals – food diaries for health and diet assessments are known to often be inaccurate due to mis-reporting. Photographing all food eaten can be used as memory recall and provide an accurate reflection of meal size. This also enables more personalised support through understanding meal dynamics.
  • Giving cameras to research participants or community groups to see through their eyes the things which are important to them.
  • Using photos of food to capture an audience for a food product, meal, media, or using videos to demonstrate a recipe.
  • Participants discussed the difference between using film and digital cameras – photos taken with film cameras are more likely to be carefully thought through or planned, and sometimes staged, due to the limited number of photos available. Whereas, digital cameras and smartphones tyically have memory for a very large number of images, and photos can be reviewed and deleted, which creates an ability to take numerous photos and a ‘snap happy’ culture.

A full report on the workshop is available by following this link: Creative Methods Workshop Report (opens pdf)

Research methods often associated with using photography and film include ‘photo voice’ and ‘visual ethnography’. There are resources for both of these listed in the bibliography at the end of the page, and on the External resources for creative methods page.

Photographic Outputs from the Workshop in London

Sugary drinks and retail

Enticing customers using shop window displays

Food waste and packaging

Bibliography and Other Resources

Through Farmers’ Eyes – photographs taken by farmers in Northern Ghana as part of a research project at the University of Sussex. Additional information on this project is available here.

Amos, S. & Lordly, D. (2014) Picture This: A Photovoice Study of Internationk Students’ Food Expereince in Canada, Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 75(2), 59-63

Bridle-Fitzpatrick, S. (2015) Food deserts or food swamps?: A mixed-method study of local food environments in a Mexican city, Social Science & Medicine, 142, 202-213

Burns, C., Cook, K., & Mavoa, H. (2013) Role of expendable income and price in food choice by low income families, Appetite, 71, 209-217

Fitzgerald, E.A., Frasso, R., Dean, L.T., Johnson, T.E., Solomon, S., Bugos, E., Mallya, G. & Cannuscio, C.C. (2013) Community-generated recommendations regarding the urban nutrition and tabacco environments: a photo-elicitation study in Philadelphia, Preventing chronic disease, 10, E98-E98

Heidelberger, L. & Smith, C. (2015) The Food NEvironment Through the Camera Lenses of 9- to 13-Year Ols Living in Ubran, Low-Income, Midwestern Households: A Photovoice Project, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, 47(5), 437-+

Jones, K. (2012) Connecting Research with Communities through Performative Social Science, The Qualitative Report 2012, 17(18), 1-8

Joy, P., Mann, L. & Blotnicky, K. (2014) Identification of Healthy Eating and Actie Lifestyle Issues through Photo Elicitation, Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 75(3), 152-156

Knoblauch, H.,Baer, A., Laurier, E., Petschke, S., and Schnettler, B. (2008) Visual Analysis. New Developments in the Interpretative Analysis of Video and Photography, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(3), Art.4

Pink, S. (2013) Doing Visual Ethnography, Third Edition, SAGE, London

Roberts, B. (2008) Performative Social Science: A Consideration of Skills, Purpose and Context, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(2), Art.58

Thompson, C., Cummins, S., Brown, T. & Kyle, R. (2016) Contrasting approaches to ‘doing’ family meals: a qualitative study of how parents frame children’s food preferences, Critical Public Health, 26(3), 322-332

Willox, A. C. et al. (2012) Storytelling in a digital age : digital storytelling as an emerging narrative method for preserving and promoting indigenous oral wisdom. Qualitative Research, 13:2, 127-147

Zhang, W., Yu, Q., Siddiquie, B., Divakaran, A. & Sawhney, H. (2015) “Snat-nEat”: Food Recognition and Nutrition Estimation on a Smartphone, Journal of diabetes science and technology, 9(3), 525-533