1st Edition

Visual Methods in the Field Photography for the Social Sciences

By Terence Heng Copyright 2017
    286 Pages 110 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    286 Pages 110 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The use of images, particularly photography, has been steadily gaining popularity in academia, but there has not yet been a book that deals with the act and process of photo-taking in the field. Drawing upon 21 years of photographic experience and sociological research, Terence Heng’s immersive and narrative style will:

    1. introduce photography as a qualitative method;
    2. discuss the intricacies of, challenges in and opportunities for using a camera in the field;
    3. explore common themes and topics in social science research, including photographing rituals, space, people and objects;
    4. advise on navigating the always evolving technological landscapes of traditional, digital and mobile photography.

    Visual Methods in the Field: Photography for the Social Sciences is a photography guide written for researchers by a researcher. Using in-depth ethnographic case studies from research done in various urban environments, this book will act as a crucial bridge for students in geography, sociology, education, media studies and other social sciences to incorporate photography into their research repertoire.

    1. Introduction
    2. Equipping Yourself in the Field
    3. The Visual Researcher’s Workflow – Pre-Fieldwork
    4. Photographing Space and "Scapes"
    5. Photographing Everyday Life – Action and Interaction
    6. Photographing Everyday Life 2 – Ritual
    7. Photographing Social and Cultural Inventories
    8. Photographing People
    9. Photographing in Challenging Lighting Situations
    10. Smartphone Photography
    11. The Visual Researcher’s Workflow (Basic Digital Darkroom Techniques)
    12. Technical Aspects for Ethical Visual Research
    13. Final Remarks and an Annotated Photo Essay


    Terence Heng is an Assistant Professor at the Singapore Institute of Technology, and received his PhD in Visual Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London. Working on the intersections between creative practice and sociological research, Terence investigates the making of ethnic identities amongst Chinese individuals through everyday rituals and geographies, and was the inaugural winner of the International Visual Sociology Association’s Prosser Award in 2015. His research has been featured in journals like The Sociological Review, Geographical Review, Cultural Geographies and Visual Communication.

    ‘This beautifully crafted volume teaches us to see photographically and sociologically at the same time. An exemplary contribution to Visual Sociology, it teaches photographic and post-production techniques at the same time as it shows what can be achieved intellectually and aesthetically by working with social issues through the lens.’ - Caroline Knowles, Professor, Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London

    ‘This is the "go to" book for visual researchers. Terence Heng brings together a wealth of practical know-how with a comprehensive methodological knowledge of visual ethnography. Written in an accessible, engaging and dynamic narrative style, this insightful text will be an invaluable resource for novice and experienced researchers across the arts, humanities and social sciences.’ - Elaine Campbell, Professor of Criminology, Newcastle University

    ‘A well-written, practical resource, Heng guides the social scientist through the technical and social processes required to create meaningful, impactful photographs.’ - Helen Lomax, Professor of Health and Wellbeing, University of Northampton