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Sam Rutherford



Photovoice is a method used to document and reflect reality.

It is an empowering and flexible process that combines photography with grassroots social action. It is commonly used in community development, public health and education.


Photovoice is a simple process where members of a community use photography as a starting point to effect change.

This can be people of any age, status, gender, race or class. 

The group of individuals will have a common goal, or shared lived experience.

An example: A p7 class wanted to improve their playground

PHOTOVOICE : A basic guide to get started **

  • Find a theme to explore.

  • Choose cameras that work for your group.

  • Look at simple compositional techniques.

  • Everyone takes photographs.

  • Collect images and share with the group through prints or on a screen.

  • Capture the conversation by recording it or writing it down.

  • Select and edit words and images that work best together for a strong message.

**before starting any photography project, sensitivities around subject matter, permissions and risk assessment should be all be discussed.

Paulo Freire Life and Pedagogy of the Oppressed


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Everyone is equally involved

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Cameras are accessible

Everyone’s voice is heard during discussion

Control of your creativity All are able to take photos in their own way - with no fixed agenda or prescribed outcome.

Lived experience Everyone has experience and feels invested in the project.


Praxis Reflecting, taking action with possibilities to make change.


I am a digital artist living in Edinburgh. My work encompasses socio-political themes and is driven by current events.

I am passionate about enabling community groups to have their voices heard and see the arts as the perfect platform for this, with over 20 years of experience as a teaching artist I am at my happiest working in partnerships.

A research project initiated by the Nursing department at the University of Edinburgh is one example of working with people in recovery, enabling groups to use photography to tell their stories, culminating with an exhibition at the Scottish Parliament. 

Art as a means to research, discuss and better understand.

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