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Participant photography is a visual method that has been widely used in research to elevate the voices of historically marginalized populations. Although much has been written about the nature of the visual method, including its benefits and challenges, less is known about how meaning is made of the visual images as they move throughout the research process. To this end, this article draws upon data and the methodological notes from a research study examining Black masculinities and employs a critical visual methodology to examine the different sites of meaning-making in a participant photography research project with Black college men. First, the participant reflections on the visual methodology will be used to examine the image production process, which includes the men’s decisions regarding photographic tools and their image-making strategies. Then, select images from the project and the corresponding narratives will be shared and situated within the social context in which they were produced. Finally, this article will discuss practical and ethical considerations regarding the circulation and audiencing of the project images and conclude with a discussion of the lessons learned in using a critical visual methodology to explore how meaning is made in a participant photography project with Black men.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Qualitative Methods, volume 19, in 2020.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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