PhotoVoice Projects

PhotoVoice Projects

BY IVO HAGGERTY


“Photovoice” is any creative form that tells a story prompted by photographs or that uses photography as a medium for a story. In a photovoice project the participant is given a camera and told to take pictures of their life in order to give an accurate account and perception of what is actually going on. Having technical photography skills is not required to achieve a desirable result in a photovoice project. Photos that don’t have as much technical composition, like being out of focus or blurred, are often the most compelling. The main component of a photovoice project is that somehow a story is created; either a photograph prompts a story or a personal life experience is told and shared through photos.

On the weekend of December 3rd to 5th, 2010, in partnership with Panos Canada and Healing Our Spirit YouthCO’s Aboriginal Youth Program hosted a PhotoVoice workshop. It was a beautiful weekend full of tears, resilience, strength and healing. The only requirement for participation in the PhotoVoice workshop was that the youth involved needed to either be living with or affected by HIV. With new transmission rates being so high within Aboriginal communities, many of us are impacted: within British Columbia alone, one Aboriginal person a week is testing positive for HIV. Some people might view one person a week as a very small number; however, with our communities being smaller than most, the chances are high that we know that person. During the course of the weekend we played games, made art, took photos and created a space where dialogue was safe and conversations were meaningful.

At the conclusion of the PhotoVoice project, participants were left with the cameras they used over the course of the project and were encouraged to continue taking photos of their lives and their relationships to HIV and cultural health.


Visual art piece from Ivo Haggerty’s AYP photovoice project.

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