Visual Anthropology : Photography as a Research Tool - 2023

This workshop is organised by Nicolas Lainez. It offers practical training in using photography for qualitative social science research. It will provide students with a foundation of skills, motivation, and self-confidence that will enable them to apply photographic methods for their research projects and future endeavours. The workshop has two aims. The first is to familiarise students with basic photographic production techniques and the use of photography to illustrate research findings. The second is to situate photography within theoretical and methodological debates in visual anthropology. The workshop will offer students tools to read, interpret, and use photography as a research tool, particularly photo elicitation. This method is popular in social sciences. It involves using photography in semi-structured interviews to generate discussion and rich data about people’s histories and experiences. It can uncover multiple layers of meaning by evoking deep memories and emotions. It is suitable for community-based participatory research as it facilitates access to vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups.
Students will put practical, theoretical, and methodological understandings of photography and visual anthropology into practice by producing a short visual essay informed by a research question and conducting interviews using photos. Overall, students are expected to gain a comprehensive and hands-on practical education in visual anthropology.
The instructor will use his 20-year-long experience as an engaged photographer and social anthropologist in documenting human trafficking, sex work, and migration in Southeast Asia to support his teaching. He will be accompanied by Nguyen Xuan Khanh, a young and talented Vietnamese photographer who covers social issues in Vietnam for the international media.
The workshop is open to 12 master’s and PhD students from the Vietnam National University, University of Social Sciences & Humanities. Students must use their handphones or reflex cameras to make their photo essays.

Photos from the workshop can be seen here :