The second edition of this popular text confirms the book’s status as an important forerunner in the field of visual methods. Combining the theoretical, practical and technical the authors discuss changing technologies, the role of the internet and the impact of social media. Presenting an interdisciplinary guide to visual methods they explore both the creation and interpretation of visual images and their use within different methodological approaches. This clear, articulate book is full of practical tips on publishing and presenting the results of visual research and how to use film and photographic archives. This book will be an indispensable guide for anyone using or creating visual images in their research.

Reading Pictures

Figure 1.1 Christmas 2008: local photographer at work in Somié Village, Cameroon.

Figure 1

1.1 The trouble with pictures

Anthropology has had no lack of interest in the visual; its problem has always been what to do with it. (MacDougall 1997: 276)

It used to be quite common for visual researchers in the social sciences to claim that they work in a minority field that is neither understood, nor properly appreciated by their colleagues (e.g. Grady 1991; Prosser 1998b; cf. MacDougall 1997). The reason, the argument went, is that the social sciences are ‘disciplines of words’ (Mead 1995) in which there is no room for pictures, except as supporting characters. Yet today, interest in visual analysis seems to be growing widely in the social sciences. Visual anthropology ...

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