Photograph Interview

Photographs as a research tool will be introduced in the oral history interviews or during follow-up visits to respondents, depending on a particular situation. Photographs will be used to elicit more complete and detailed information on physical objects and settings in addition to the narratives. Interviewing with photographs has other advantages as well. Pictures sharpen the memory and may remind of experiences, activities, events or details otherwise forgotten or poorly remembered. As a visual stimulus, they may also encourage the respondent to expand on subjects that had been touched on very briefly. In addition, photographs, examined by the researcher and respondent together, become focus of the discussion and help to establish a friendly, relaxed rapport by relieving the respondent of the role of "subject of interrogation."

Respondents will be asked to show their family albums, unorganized collections of photos (e.g. boxes), and/or to describe displayed photographs. With consent of the interviewees, the researcher may take digital photographs of these photos at the location of the interview.
Photographs will be used to elicit more complete and detailed information in addition to the narratives.

The following components will be included in the discussion of pictures: participants – the photographer as well as those depicted on them;
setting – when and were the photos were taken;
topic – subject matter, activities and events represented on photos; physical format of the photograph, e.g. photo booth picture, passport photo, framed wedding portrait, etc.

The researcher will ask open-ended and directive questions in order to trigger or stimulate the conversation.

Tell me about this photograph.
Who (what) is on this photo?
When/where/by whom was it taken?
What does this photo remind you of?

Most questions will be embedded in the larger conversation and be specifically connected with the image that the interviewer and interviewee are looking at.