DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Visual of the Real World

Written by: on September 10, 2015

article-0-193DFB1400000578-482_634x478PICS FOR BLOG

                                                                                   Visual of the Real World

“Ethnography is defined as the scientific study of human social phenomena and communities, through means such as fieldwork. It is considered a branch of cultural anthropology, the branch of anthropology which focuses on the study of human societies”[i].As our second book blog is about Sarah Pink, “Doing visual ethnography, images, media and representation in research”, which is about the  use of visual methods paired with ethnography as a qualitative research method that  deals with  the use of visual material, such as still photographs, that will carry a variety of meanings to the audience. In the book, Pink states, “there are no fixed criteria that determine which photographs are ethnographic and any photograph may have ethnographic interest (2001) [2].” To support the statement I will offer the above visual example. The picture can represent several meanings based on Pink’’ analysis. It could symbolize the need to ensure charity work; it could also symbolize lack of seriousness in the government. I mean the picture can actually fit multiple contexts but in this case, I will use my experience and what I have been doing to relate to the picture taking into considerations Pink’s views.

It brought to my mind the fieldwork we did before setting up the non-profit organization; because we had collected various types ofl images of people with broken lives, including pictures and videos which were done both individually and collectively. We were troubled by the human suffering viewed, from our collected pictures, first hand from Mississippi to Louisiana, Texas and across United States. We were all haunted by the optimistic expectations of childhood which had manifested in those all around us as “the real world”. In “the real world” you must work for your daily bread.  Your money is cut into by taxes.  Your money is snatched away by unscrupulous people in the real world.  Your future is twisted into the darkness of slavery to poverty, addiction, sickness and death in “the real world”.  The innocence of the child in all of us is stolen in the real word.  In other words, the real world consists of all types of characters and individuals. It is a world whereby the unfortunate and fortunate live. The real world calls for survivors perfectionists. Christ was sold for thirty pieces of silver and a servant is no greater than his master. Ironically it was “the real world” that led us to setup, the Early & Lettie Simmons Foundation for Humanity, by the prevailing spirit, the mission of Christ, was to end human suffering.

Since our mission as an Organization is to serve and help create better places for others. In order to fulfill that mission, the leadership of foundation must take bold steps to truly understand all types of human societies – not just types similar to our society and have a clear view of cultural identity. Reading  Sarah Pink, “Doing Visual Ethnography” which is a about visual research where the ethnographer writes about his or her experience. To plan for the future, you must evaluate the present; in our planning stage, we must look at the contexts of ethnography, observes our customers/clients current behaviors, looking for say verses do activities in order to identify unarticulated unmet needs.Pink, used an example by the showing of a patrol cap that is worn with the United States Army combat uniform. Based on Pink’s (2001)[3]position, this picture can represent many meanings.The point is that Pink encourages the use of visual technology, but urges the researcher to be versed on what may transpire as a result of combining this method with qualitative research, especially ethnography. Pink’s book makes me imagine a lot regarding many things happening in the world today. I believe Pink’s book is excellent in providing perfect explanation about the picture. I would take several contexts analyzing this picture but more importantly, I should be concerned about what Pink talks about regarding ethnography and photographs. I do support her assertion and ideas regarding photos and their meanings. Pink follows research process involving all steps in research works making her work valid and presentable to readers. I find reading her book easier.

Use of visual ethnography in the study of history, theology or simply viewing the various social conditions of different communities is indeed exciting considering the fact that it bridges humanities and social sciences.  Having the picture of our mission in mind, I easily relate to Pink’s assertion. What we do is an act of humanity. Through social science under the topic of ethnography, it is easy for me to see practical aspect of ethnography. Please don’t forget the “World Wild Web” gives us many opportunities for critical thinking of the culture, church leadership; the opportunity to look at the contexts of ethnography, observes people behaviors.  It is in the real world when we become …”Real picture thinkers”.





[1 ] 

[2]  Pink, Sarah doing visual ethnography, images, media and representation in research,3rd ed.London:sage Publications, 2013

[3]Pink, Sarah doing visual ethnography, images, media and representation in research,3rd ed. London :sage Publications, 2013    

About the Author


Rose Anding

Rose Maria “Simmons McCarthy” Anding, a Visionary, Teacher,Evangelist, Biblical Counselor/ Chaplain and Author, of High Heels, Honey Lips, and White Powder. She is a widower, mother, stepmother, grandmother, great grandmother of Denver James, the greater joy of her life. She has lived in Chicago, Washington, DC, and North Carolina, and is now back on the forgiving soil of Mississippi.

4 responses to “Visual of the Real World”

  1. I think it is interesting as you referred to the pictures that you had taken to represent “broken lives” to make your point. Would those people photographed have had the same take? Would they see their lives as broken or maybe they would see their lives as “normal.”

    That’s the kind of stuff this book made me think about. Who’s perspective is correct or are all perspectives correct? I understand your point of compiling pictures to help you have an understanding but I think the power of those pictures comes with the interaction with the “informant” to find out the “real story.”

    Thanks for your post


  2. mm Rose Anding says:

    Thanks Kevin for the comment , the book is real. One picture can be worth more than a thousand words! It is a great tool, we can use in our research.
    Thank you for sharing! Rose

  3. Claire Appiah says:

    I think Kevin’s point of view is well taken. You have to keep in mind that ethnographers bring their own agendas, perspectives, and assessments into the process of characterizing what they deem to be an ethnographic image. They capture the image in such a way to support the reality they are trying to represent. It is true, only interaction with the subject will yield a better account of the truth, not assumptions of the ethnographer. Pink states, “Visual ethnography cannot be defined as a simply observational method. It does not necessarily involve simply recording what we can see, but also offers ethnographers routes through which to come to understand those very things that we cannot see” (Pink, 38- 39).

    • mm Rose Anding says:

      Thanks Claire, for elaborating on Kevin comment, I see your point which is well taken. Pink stated, “The conscious, ethnographers are of the arbitrary nature of photographic, meanings ethnographic are still likely to be treated as ‘truthful recordings’ or ‘evidences’ by non-academic viewers; therefore the approach to theory, it effects, and intentions all rest on the ethnographers. Thanks!

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