Gathering Insights on Inequities and Inequalities from a Photovoice Project with Community Organizations in Havana, Cuba

John Vertovec 1 * , Mitra Ghaffari 2

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp. 17-34

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This article describes how the PhotoVoice methodology can be utilized to study inequities and inequalities within the broader scope of an ethnographic research project. We illustrate how participatory photography provides valuable visual representations and critical analyses that can identify or corroborate unequal lived experiences and interpretations; and more novel to visual ethnography, how the nuances that permit or hinder a PhotoVoice project’s completion are also invaluable qualitative data, especially for the study of inequalities. Specifically, this article describes a PhotoVoice project which brought together leaders from seven different community organizations in Havana, Cuba. The initial intention of the project was to visually unveil and critically analyze each community organization’s greatest opportunities and challenges, and to better communicate their primary goals. While the final gallery of PhotoVoice photos/captions did provide powerful visual representations and creative analytical narratives of the project’s main themes – which indeed proved beneficial, ethnographically – critical observation of the methodology’s execution further demonstrated the ethnographic richness of participatory photographic research.

Keywords: PhotoVoice, community-based participatory research, visual methods, inequalities, community organizations, Cuba.