VISUAL ETHNOGRAPHY FIELDWORK
Visual Ethnography • Ethnography- The branch of anthropology that deals with the scientific description of specific human cultures. • Anthropology- The scientific study of the prigin, the behaviour, and the physical, social and cultural development of humans. • Photography, video and hypermedia are becoming increasingly incorporated into the work of ethnograpers as cultural texts, and representations ethnographic knowledge and as sites of cultural production, social interaction and individual experience that constitutes ethnogrpahic fieldwork. • ‘the methods should serve the aims of the research, not the research serve the aims of the method’ (Mc Guigan 1997:2) • ‘Our ethnographic stratergies are also shaped by the subject’ situation, their global as well as local perceptions, and their demands and expectations of us’ (Lizette Josephides) • Anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, photographic studies and media studies are the key disciplines. • An interlinking of cultural studies and anthropology approuches seems particularly pertinent to an ethnography that incorporates visual images and technologies. • Ethnography is rarely the sole means or end of a research project: different disciplinary uses of it are likely to situate ethnography differently within their processes of research and representation. • Visual images are made meaningful through the subjective gaze of the viewer, and that each individual produces these photographic meanings by relating the image to her personal experiences, knowledge, and wiser cultural discourse. • ‘Photographs can be tools which to obtain knowledge’(collier and collier 1986:99) • ‘Photographs allow us to produce knowledge unavailable through verbal interviewing: because the brain processes visual and spoken information differently’ • “images evoke deeper element of human consciousness than do words” (harper 2002:13) • Knowledge may be experienced and represented through textually visual or other sensory ways. • Ethnographers’ uses pf video benefit from awareness of how informants are and inderstand video technologies and representations. • Video can be used for ethnographic diary-keeping, note taking or recording certain processes and activities. • Interactive hypermedia publications usually consist of sets of interlinked files that contain written words, stills or moving images, sounds or a combination of these. • Ethnography images are as inevitable as sounds, words or any aspect of culture and society. • “Invovles the ethnographer participating, overtly or covertly, in people’s daily lives for an extended period of time, watching what happens, listening to what is said, asking questions- in fact, collecting whatever data are available to throw light on the issues that are the focus of the research” (1995)
Why did you chose these to share on facebook? What do these pictures mean to you?
It was my 17th birthday and is my most upto date picture of me and my brother. It was a nice summer day and it was special because my brother was round when at the time he wasnâ€™t living with us.
This was at the 02 and we went nandos. It was like a reunion because it wasold friends from my church .I chose this because these are the two closest friends of mine and it was a special day for all of us..
I put this up on the anniversary of her death. It is speacial to because she was a close friend who died in car crash. Its the only picture I have of both of us and reminds me of her. It makes me appreciate my life.
This was after my college oscars, i went to support my friend. After we went to our nearby tesco and all bought galaxy . We all had that in common and were having fun. It was a fun day and we felt to be silly.
I took this at my friends laptop at her uni. I took one of myself and ended up liking it so I thought Iâ€™d upload it on facebook.. I chose to share this because I like the colour effect and how it made me look.
This was before we went out to my friends birthday. it was a nice picture of me and my housemate and I liked the pose I was doing. It shows our closeness and reminds of night to remember.
What does this mean to you, Why do you chose to communicate through facebook?
I thought it was a good way of communicating to everyone, as everyone has facebook. It also allowed us to socialise and update people on weekly meetings. I can upload scriptures and quotes from the bible which may help them or something which they can relate to. I made the page because I thought it was a good way of letting people know that we exist. I put the logo up to represent our profile and will be able to know it is the same one as the uni posters. I also intend to upload a timetable so people know what they are attending and the subjects that will be brought up in order for people to think about it before hand and maybe bring more ideas or questions to talk about. It helps the members feel like they are part of something and can interact online with a group which they can relate to.
Hypermedia Ethnography Why do you use facebook? How do you view it? Do you think it does justice to presenting your identity? Do you often update/use it? What do you think about the layout? I use facebook to see how friends are doing and communicate with friends that I don’t speak to on the phone as much. I see it as a nice way of sharing things like pictures, communicating. Sometimes I see it as something selfexpression, and personal but sometimes it can get too personal and unecessary. I went through a phase of posting quotes and scriptures on my wall as I wanted to share them with friends and wanted people to comment on them. I don’t feel like I’m a photogenic person, and so i don’t think my pictures do me justice. I also don’t update my status often so I see myself as mysterious. I don’t think its a good predition of myself because I personally think I come across different through facebook and prefer to get to know someone through other means such as meeting up. I update my christian union page more than my facebook as I feel resonsible as the leader to post up quotes, and notices for those who attend it. I want them to see that I am reliable and take it seriously. It is also a way for me to express my faith which I enjoy doing. I don’t prefer the new layout of fcebook were you can see tagged photos on the top as it is quite personal. I do like the fact that it shows pictures of my friends and reminds me sometimes of the people I’ve lost touch with. This makes me not only think about my memories with them but also encourages me to write a comment and get back in touch with them. I would’nt say I was addicted to facebook but I do think its something everone should have as a means on communicating and keeping in touch with old friends.
Facebook Comments/ BBM status’ On this day I went to epsom baptist church and I was really happy and on that day as I found out another girl wanted to start up a christian union like me. I heard she went to my uni and later realised she was on my course. It felt like god wanted me to go and find that out and he had a plan for me to organise this for people. It was a very happy day for me and when I have a good day I tend to thank god and this time I wanted to share it with people on my facebook.
This shows that karina enjoys spreading the word and making her faith known to those connected to her on facebook. It is a comfort and preference of hers to publisize her happy emotions through hypermedia. She clearly gets satisfaction from letting others know her strong love and appreciation in God and what he does.
I was refering to my macbook in this status. I called it my baby because I paid for it from my own money which I earned and cherish it. Its something mine which I’ve been waiting so long to own.
This is one of the most up to date pictures of my family. It was a special day as I don’t often dress up in indian wear and me and my mum matched. My mum and brother are the closest to me.
I chose to put god is gracious and i believe god is in control and if he didnt help me get a job I woulnd’t of been able to afford my ‘baby’ macbook.
How do you feel about your google profile? what are your opinions on anyone being able to see this?
Home Church/Safe place
C.U Meeting: What does this mean to you?
Photographic Ethnography Analysis
Daily utensiles, such as her make up, toothbrush, hair brush all imply that she takes care of her presentation and likes
Ethnography Analysis Finds communicating her belief hard to do in words, more of a frame of mind.
Expresses strong belief against other people who try to make her doubt her faith. Used to feel uneasy about not knowing how to answer some difficult question on her religion but is not satisfied and happy with what she knows.
Things which trigger emotions/ change in behaviour/ attitude/ change in personality/facial exp
After letting her listern to herself, she mentioned that she didnâ€™t like the way she sounded and was quite embaraced.
Smiling when she talks about her faith, she obviously speaks with passion and certainty.
When talking about her mum and both of their relationship, she seemed to be in her comfort zone. Unlike talking about her faith it was more natural.