Research Methods for Cultural Studies

By Michael Pickering | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Analysing Visual Experience

Sarah Pink


PROLOGUE: A STORY FROM THE FIELD

Iarrived at David and Anne’s house one morning in autumn 2005, to interview them about the community garden project David was involved in. I was ready with the tool kit of a contemporary visual researcher: digital video and stills cameras, audio recorder, and pen and notebook. My research involved photography, audio-recording our interview and collaboratively exploring the garden site with David on video. It also led me to attend closely to the visual elements of the project itself. When I interview people about their experiences, projects and passions, they usually pull out visual images with which to tell me stories about their lives. So I was not surprised when David began to narrate the story of the community garden project in spoken words, interjected at times with Anne’s comments, written word-processed documents, drawings and plans through which the local residents had visualised their ideas about the garden, and printed photographs. I was gripped by the story and this was partly because it gained my attention through multiple media. The combination of spoken words and visual images provided me with multiple ways to start imagining how the garden already was, how they planned to create it and what it would feel like when it was finished. This was not simply visual imagining since our discussions of the garden included plans for a ‘sensory’ area with sweet smelling plants and for a brickweave path – a textured route through the garden that, although it could be represented visually in photographs, would also be a haptic experience, felt underfoot by those who walked in or through the garden.

Before I photographed David and Anne, we discussed the composition of the image. Since the choice of a brickweave path for the garden was a key issue at that moment in time, we agreed they should be holding the photographs that illustrated the type of path they hoped for (Figure 7.1). David’s communication

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Research Methods for Cultural Studies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Section One - Lives and Lived Experiences 15
  • Chapter 1 - Experience and the Social World 17
  • Chapter 2 - Stories and the Social World 32
  • Section Two - Production and Consumption 51
  • Chapter 3 - Investigating Cultural Producers 53
  • Chapter 4 - Investigating Cultural Consumers 68
  • Section Three - Quantity and Quality 87
  • Chapter 5 - Why Counting Counts 89
  • Chapter 6 - Why Observing Matters 105
  • Section Four - Texts and Pictures 123
  • Chapter 7 - Analysing Visual Experience 125
  • Chapter 8 - Analysing Discourse 150
  • Section 5 - Linking with the Past 173
  • Chapter 9 - Engaging with Memory 175
  • Chapter 10 - Engaging with History 193
  • Bibliography 214
  • Notes on Contributors 234
  • Index 237
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