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Position Pieces

Vol. 8 No. 1: April issue

Thinking through the Photo Essay: Observations for Medical Anthropology

July 23, 2020


As photography becomes more prevalent in ethnographic research, scholars should more seriously consider the photo essay as a medium for sharing their work. In this Position Piece, we present guidelines for the creation of ethnographic photo essays for medical anthropology that do not simply combine image and text, but create a balance that allows words to provide context for the image(s) and images to reinforce or challenge the text. We feel there are three basic elements every photo essay must consider that are informed by the theory and practice of visual anthropology. While a solid background in visual anthropology is not necessary to produce a successful photo essay, being mindful of these three elements in relation to your work will help you develop a photo essay that combines the best of what both media offer your audience.

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