Pink touch on a very familiar topic of ethnography, which is very close to my interest. As I think of the essential keys words that couture my attention like
Image-illustration of concepts, objectivity, visual anthropology, audiovisual ethnography, fiction, documentary, representation, re-enactment, photographic potentiality, media transfer, resignification, memory.
I think of the words of Clifford
“[…] Anthropological humanism begins with the different, and makes it understandable by naming, classifying, describing, interpreting. It familiarizes him. A surrealist ethnographic practice, by contrast, attacks the familiar, causing the irruption of alterity.
The unexpected” James Clifford
As one of the indispensable tools that the contemporary social scientist has among his luggage of absorption of reality, they are, in addition to the classic and legendary field diary and the audio recorder, the camera, and on many occasions, the camera of video. Through the captured images, the intrepid observer hopes to be able to return to that space/time of perception that is the field and, thus, analyze elements that he had not noticed at first sight.
To develop the understandings of visual ethnography practice, one must sometimes apply critically on a range of disciplines and fields, including visual anthropology, media anthropology, visual sociology, media and internet studies, visual studies/visual culture studies, and art history and geography. We are discovering the emergent relationship between anthropological ethnography and cultural studies (e.g., as developed in the work of the anthropologist Penny Harvey (1996)).
Pink, Sarah (2013-09-22T23:58:59). Doing Visual Ethnography. SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.
Audiovisual means of tools to enrich the fieldwork, and its function as an instrument is full; however, its possibilities as a language and way of approaching social reality are entirely mutilated. In opposition to this, some aspects of contemporary visual anthropology propose that when the audiovisual ethnographer approaches the field, his way of observing is different, since in a literal sense he is seeing with other eyes, aware as not many social scientists, of speech as representation (or fiction) and recognizing in each element a possibility of articulation to a film assembly line, a photographic series or a set of possible images to be made at another time or to be shared with others through texts – poems, fragments – and / or sketches.
IMAGES: How were your Visual Ethnography at Oxford?
Images are everywhere and per-mean our daily life at all levels, are linked to our identity, our narratives, our reading and interpretation of the world. But do we know what they mean? Have we ever wondered what is beyond our sensitive evidence? Seduced only by its content, our gaze has become contemplative, leaving aside all inquiries for semantic charges, for the relationship that weaves between the evidence and the eye, “the symbolic asepsis sterilizes the eyes […] Where they no longer exist. There are gods, the specters reign” (Novalis. In Debray, 1994,58).
PHOTOGRAPHY: What did I learn when I took pictures?
Photography Thus, this tool is at the same time description and interpretation, integrating the different points of view of the interlocutors and the anthropological interpretation at both levels, allowing us to reflect on the interactions between the subjects and the speeches. In this sense, we are interested in photography as a means to provoke and explain through different voices in which various lectures and ways of representing and self-representing are involved. We look for in the photographs what is the “photostable” and the means of being photographed, moments, spaces, dispositions, objects, people, changing rooms or gaps that will allow us to inquire about the how and what we want to show in the photography, what remains hidden and the reason for this invisibility action.
While ethnography information may be recorded visually, ethnographic knowledge is produced through the translation and abstraction of this ‘data’ into written text. Sara pink, doing visual ethnography, (Ibid: 96).
The camera, since its inception, first the photographic and then those of film-video, has been used for the generation of socio-anthropological knowledge, not without a constant debate on this use (Becker, 1974; Edwards, 1992).
In Anthropology, a subdiscipline has been generated
, Visual Anthropology
 which, as an area of knowledge: “explores the image and its place in the production and transmission of knowledge about social and cultural processes, while try to develop theories that address the creation of images as part of the study of culture” (Ardèvol, 2006, p. 23).
The use of images as a methodological instrument of ethnography has been a very useful tool, and numerous volumes account for it (Ardèvol, 2006; Pink, 2007; Pole, 2004; Prosser, 1998).
There are three basic forms in relation to the production of the images:
A- On the one hand there are the images produced by the ethnographer-photographer (Collier & Collier, 1986; Jacknis, 1998);
B- secondly, those vernacular images that are used as daily records of people’s lives, representations of their way of life, and, therefore, are used as data that can shed light on a particular category (cf. Gardner, 1991; Chalfen, 1987).
C- And finally, the images of “participatory” research, that is, those that are generated together, between researchers and their informants (Worth, Adair, & Chalfen, 1972). Some of these are framed in an approximation of anthropology for development (cf. Ardèvol, 2006). In all these cases, the photography image is seen and used as a representation.