Pictures, patience, and practicalities: Lessons learned from using photovoice in applied communication contexts

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Taylor & Francis


The unforeseen trials of arts-based research may suppress creative and innovative explorations. Photovoice, a visual method of investigation employing participatory photography, presents a host of apprehensions. Yet, photovoice is both a valid and rich methodology that can greatly expand the reach and scope of applied communication research. In this essay, we – three applied communication researchers – discuss the complexities of photovoice, highlighting areas of consideration that interested researchers should contemplate before utilizing this methodology. Briefly exploring three of our research studies and their varying topics (i.e. long-term cancer survivors, domestic violence organizational advocacy, male body culture), we discuss three broad areas of difficulty in photovoice research: analysis, control, and exposure. Despite the unique obstacles that photovoice presents, we argue that it, along with other forms of arts-based research, are profitable and definitely worth the challenge.