Do you want
to share information about your Photovoice project? Email
visit our Contacts page (here).
To encourage interest in adapting Photovoice to your interests and needs, we briefly describe
a sampling of four projects that Laura has facilitated since 2001.
What is Photovoice? Photovoice is a participatory research
and critical thinking method that allows patients and community
members to share their experiences and collaborate for change. Using
photographs can illuminate barriers to access, illustrate quality of
care, and influence policy and resource decision making in
respectful and supportive ways. It can help unite service providers
and patients to address health and health care issues as a shared
endeavor. It is an innovative approach of interest to community
members, graduate students, policy makers, professionals, and more.
of some Photovoice
projects Laura has facilitated
Supportive Living Inc. Photovoice Project: “Talking
with Pictures: Community Integration
of Older Adults with Brain Injury"
"Talking with Pictures” looked with fresh eyes at community integration of older adults with neurological conditions in Lexington, MA. Participants took photographs and wrote captions to investigate and share information on their lives, experiences, and community. The project exhibit fostered community dialog about integration of people with disabilities into community life, and informed town decision-making about sidewalk improvements. The project received a grant from the Dana Home Foundation. See a video on this project
Supportive Living Inc
is a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise the quality of life for survivors of brain injury.
Photo Project gives Lexingtonians a new voice - The Lexington
Minuteman Wicked Local Oct 18th 2014
With a cane in his left hand and a red digital camera in the
right, Shaun Grady takes a picture of uneven cobblestone in
Lexington Center. The 55-year-old Lexington resident is spending
parts of his week taking photographs of "environmental barriers" for
people walking around town. "That could be dangerous for anybody
walking by. Someone could trip and fall and hit their head, let
alone me who is more prone to falling down," he said. Grady's
balance issues are the result of a brain tumor and the multiple
surgeries he underwent six years ago to treat the tumor. "I had to
learn how to walk again, I had to learn how to talk again," Grady
said. "I’ve had cognitive problems, executive functioning problems.
I have a really horrible sense of time and time passing." He is a
volunteer at the SLI Brain Injury Wellness Center, which is running
an eight-week community integration study for people with brain
injury led by Research and Education Director Laura Lorenz and
funded by the Dana Home Foundation...
Read more about this
fascinating project and article from the Lexington Minuteman Wicked
Local Article Oct 18th 2014 issue of the paper here.
Lexington Minuteman Wicked Local Paper - Lexington Photo Project
(PDF) 2.16 Megabytes
Shaun Grady of Lexington has vision and balance problems from a
traumatic brain injury. In order to help make
Lexington more accessible, taking photos of what works and what
doesn't around town to help start a dialogue.
He's taking a photo of one of the curb cuts along Massachusetts
Avenue. Wicked Local Staff Photo/Ann Ringwood
Talking with Pictures Sept 2015
Supportive Living Inc. Lexington, MA (2015). Talking with Pictures.
Get a glimpse of just how
Photovoice impacted the lives of individuals and their
understanding of their community. Participants met 12
times to discuss the research topics and photos, write captions, and
prepare an exhibit. This film represents what the participants
wanted to reflect on, document, and share in an exhibit to create
awareness in their community. View this well done video by clicking
Talking with Pictures or the image above.
Brain Injury X-Posed: The Survivor's View (September 2006 -
Members of a brain injury support group created an exhibit of 50 photographs and captions organized under 9 themes: The Journey, Lost Dreams, Chaos, Challenges, Strategies, My Advocacy Story, Comfort and Support, Acceptance, and Hope for the Future. Photovoice created an opportunity for participants to reflect on living with brain injury and their progress in dealing with major life change, raise awareness about brain injury, and help policymakers understand ways to support healing. The group presented their exhibit at an annual conference of the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, and led a Photovoice workshop for support group facilitators in the state. The project received funding from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and has inspired Photovoice projects in other states.
For a scientific poster on Brain Injury X-Posed
2006 24"x36" PDF
To see a sample exhibit poster
(1 of 9) 24"x36"
, click here.
To read peer-review papers on the project click on any of the
following hyper-links (e.g
Lorenz & Kolb 2009 Health Expectations 12(3) pp. 262-274
Involving the Public in Health, or Lorenz, Laura S. 2010
Discovering a new identity after brain injury, Sociology of
Health and Illness, 32(6), pp 862-879, or Lorenz, Laura S. (2010, December).
Visual metaphors of living with brain injury: Exploring and communicating lived experience with an invisible injury. Visual Studies, 25(3), pp 210-223
The following represent samples for three of the nine exhibit categories, developed
by participants and facilitators together. Each photo shows the
category & the photo title.
- Maybe there will be a good view -
"It’s a muddy, rutty, hands-and-knees crawl up to the first rung of
the ladder that begins to make some semblance of sense—and then
you get to begin to really struggle. The climb does not and will
not end. There is no final healed bone or mended tear of the skin
to get over. Sometimes weekly, and sometimes daily there is a new
step to attempt to get to your “new self”. You can’t even ever
hope to get back to your “old self”. Oh well! Maybe there will be
a good view on this journey that I hadn’t expected."
- Keys in the freezer -
"My thoughts no longer correspond to action. Thus, putting things
in places that have no meaning: like keys in the freezer."
Hope For The Future
- New Identity -
"New Identity. New passion of gardening. First baby step was
planting in containers so as to not fall into dirt because of
imbalance. My garden has progressed as my new life has. Now I not
only can plant in the ground, I dig up grass and now have three
Trying to run on ice -
"Imagine your automobile stuck in a snow bank. You hit the gas
pedal and all the tire does is spin. Now imagine yourself trying
to run on ice (without wearing a pair of skates). The faster you
run, the more you get nowhere. These images parallel how each and
every day of my life begins since I suffered my brain injury. I
seem to spend a whole lot of time getting nothing accomplished."
X-Posed: The Survivor’s View (PhotoVoice II)
the "Amazing" Brain Injury Survivor Support Group in Framingham,
Massachusetts embarked on a 2nd Photovoice Project
entitled (Brain Injury X-Posed: The Survivor’s View Photovoice II).
The exhibit was prepared by the participants and facilitators over
eight-weeks and took place from September through December 2009. The
exhibit contains 48 photographs and narratives.
Want to do your own Photovoice project?
a copy of the
Photovoice Facilitator's Guide developed by Laura S. Lorenz and
Barbara Webster to help get you started.
Photovoice in Mdantsane Township, South Africa: “Pictures that
Speak: Involving Youth in Community Health” (2001)
Working with a youth-led organization in Mdantsane Township, Laura trained four youth members aged 16 to 32 to be co-leaders with her on a Photovoice project funded by the South African Department of Health Department of Health
and the Equity Project of U.S.A.I.D. Each leader worked with a team
of peers to take photographs of community resources and problems
from their point of view, choose some for exhibit, write captions,
and prepare an exhibit of 50+ photos and captions organized under 6
themes: Health and Welfare, Education and Training, Community
Vision, Economic Opportunity, Security, and Township Life. Exhibits
at public libraries, the local hospital, and the regional capital
captured policymaker attention and helped the young people to feel
“These pictures are proof of our membership in our communities,” said
Khanyiso Sangotsha, one of the Youth Academy leaders who participated
in the project. “By looking at them you can see clearly today that
Mdantsane needs change.”
The following are sample photos and captions for two of the six exhibit
categories, which were developed by participants and facilitators
Township Life –
"This is a bad situation. The streets are always muddy even on
sunny days. There are insects which bring illness to people. Cars
cannot enter in this community. These roads need renovation. If
the municipality would contribute gravel, the community would fill
in the holes themselves." –Luyazola
Township Life – Ubomi Belokishi
"This young man has a sister, his own blood, who has tested
positive for HIV. He decided not to eat the food she cooked, not
even to use the spoon or the coffee mug she used, because he
thought he could be infected with AIDS. We need to inform people
about the normal life they can live with an HIV positive person."
Township Life – Ubomi Belokishi
"This is good looking art on the wall near a taxi route. If you are
passing by you stop and look because it’s beautiful. As youth of
Mdantsane we are showing people that we have talents. Art like
this can attract tourists to come here to Mdantsane. It is good to
know that we have people who care about our culture and our
Health and Welfare -- Ezempilo
"This picture is a good thing because it is good to have fresh
vegetables. These people are unemployed and are growing their own
food because there are no jobs. It is good to plant vegetables for
eating and selling." –Celine
Photovoice with Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell:
A Community Activism
This project was an after-school activity offered through Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell. Using disposable cameras, Girls Inc. members aged 11 to 16 photographed local resources and needs from their perspectives and held an exhibit at City Hall. The Mayor saw the exhibit and spoke with a participant about her photo showing the long-standing problem of a cracked dance floor at the high school. The Mayor brought the City Counselors to see the dance floor photo and caption, and they approved funding to repair it. Photovoice has been widely used by Girls Inc. affiliates throughout the U.S. and Canada using a facilitator’s guide based on this first project and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The pilot project won a national Girls Inc Program Award in 2001, and
in 2002 Girls Inc of Greater Lowell applied for and won a
Strengthening Families Program grant, funded by the Annie E. Casey
Foundation, to develop a Photovoice curriculum guide. The
Photovoice: Girls Vision, Girls Voices curriculum is now a
national Girls Inc program, and Girls Inc affiliates throughout the US
and Canada carry out numerous Photovoice projects each year. Girls Inc
of Greater Lowell continues to lead photovoice projects and share the
methodology with other Lowell youth through outreach programs at local
“I took photos of my family, my friends, my community, and many other
problems and resources,” said Jennifer Sanchez, a Photovoice
participant and Girls Inc member for six years. “For example, I took a
picture of bagged trash. This is a resource—everyone should bag their
trash instead of polluting the environment. Taking pictures for
Photovoice, I found that there was a lack of caring in my community
and lots of pollution. I found that taking pictures and showing them
to our community could really make a difference.”
The following are sample photos and captions from the exhibit.
"This is one of the many cracks in our dance floor at the high
school. Cracks like this are unsafe and can cause major injuries.
Our dance teacher has made numerous complaints to the school about
this problem. I hope that including this photo will get the floor
fixed and that my dance teacher does not get in trouble, because
this was my idea." –Kerry, age 17, Girls Incorporated of Greater
"My family is everything to me. This is a picture of my aunt and my
baby sister. My aunt is very special to me because she is very
cool and teaches me things about life. She is a role model and she
is like another mother. I love my Mom just the same, they are both
very cool. My baby is very special to me because she is premature
and she is so precious. When I look at her I see myself as being a
role mode. She makes me smile when I’m down."—Jessica, age 14,
Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell, 2001
"This is a picture of a fire truck. It’s one of our resources. Fire
fighters save lives. If fires just kept going and no one did
anything about them, then they would kill a lot of people. People
depend on fire fighters." –Gina, age 13, Girls Inc. of Greater
"This is a picture of a broken bubbler at my school. They would
always try to have people come in and try to fix our bubblers, but
they never came. This is one of about 6 bubblers in my schoond
the bad thing is that 2 more of them are also broken. So we can
almost never use the bubblers unless we travel all the way across
the school." –Yaileen, age 11, Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell,
Laura developed a series of symbols and descriptions to illustrate the
Photovoice process and steps, which she calls “A Photovoice
Path.” The path helps with planning. It provides a useful
tool for participants to understand the Photovoice
activities and track their progress. A visual depiction of the steps of Photovoice, from learning to be a a visual researcher to reaching target audiences.
View a Downloadable PDF of Photovoice
(PDF) 121 Kilobytes
What We Will Do!
Download PDF -
description of the steps of Photovoice as depicted in 'A
Photovoice Path'. shown above.
For questions regarding Photovoice
Projects, Training, or Consulting please contact Dr Laura Lorenz
at firstname.lastname@example.org or
visit our Contacts page (here).