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Health Educ Q. 1994 Summer;21(2):171-86.

Empowerment through photo novella: portraits of participation.

Author information

1
University of California, Department of Demography, Berkeley 94720.

Abstract

Photo novella does not entrust cameras to health specialists, policymakers, or professional photographers, but puts them in the hands of children, rural women, grassroots workers, and other constituents with little access to those who make decisions over their lives. Promoting what Brazilian educator Paulo Freire has termed "education for critical consciousness," photo novella allows people to document and discuss their life conditions as they see them. This process of empowerment education also enables community members with little money, power, or status to communicate to policymakers where change must occur. This paper describes photo novella's underpinnings: empowerment education, feminist theory, and documentary photography. It draws on our experience implementing the process among 62 rural Chinese women, and shows that two major implications of photo novella are its contributions to changes in consciousness and informing policy.

PIP:

Contrary to the traditional approach of relying upon photographic images taken by health specialists, policymakers, and professional photographers to document what transpires in a particular community or subpopulation, photo novella encourages children, rural women, grassroots workers, and other constituents with little access to decision-makers to take their own photographs of life as they see it. This process of empowerment education enables community members with little money, power, or status to communicate to policymakers where change must occur. This paper describes photo novella's foundation in empowerment education, feminist theory, and documentary photography. It draws upon experience implementing the process among 62 rural Chinese women, highlighting the ability of photo novella to change consciousness and inform policy.

PMID:
8021146
DOI:
10.1177/109019819402100204
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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