ERIC Number: ED244204
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Photoanalysis: A Tool for Social Scientists.
Green, Ernest J.
Photographs, unlike paintings or drawings, capture rather than interpret a moment in time and experience. The techniques for decoding the meaning in still photographs is photoanalysis. Photoanalysis is not a critique of the technical quality of a photograph, but rather an analysis of its content and intent. The rules of scientific method including inductive and deductive reasoning, inference, drawing conclusions, and limits of generalizability all apply to photoanalysis. Still photography is an important medium for scientific inquiry due to its ability to capture minute bits of behavior, its widespread availability and subsequent large database, and its technological advances. The first step in photoanalysis consists of setting the level of behavior portrayed in the image, which could be individual-psychological, interpersonal, cultural, or physical artifacts. At the psychological level, inferences are made about an individual's personality and inner feelings. At the interpersonal level, photoanalysis concentrates on the nature of the relationship being portrayed. The cultural level focuses on abstract patterns (norms, values, beliefs) practiced by members of a society. Similarly, physical artifacts can provide evidence of cultural patterns. Further considerations in photoanalysis include the photographer's and the subject's intent and the context of the making of the photograph. Photoanalysis can be used to illustrate an idea, discover a new idea, or as a scientific research procedure. (BL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Eastern Community College Social Science Association (Williamsburg, VA, March 1983).