Photovoice Ethics is a report and ethical guide for researchers who want to explore sensitive topics with their audiences. As photovoice continues to develop as a method for researching health and illness, the need for discussions about ethical considerations when exploring sensitive are also growing. This article explores ethical challenges around: consent, representation and ‘vicarious trauma’, which arose during a study, which used Photovoice to capture narratives of men’s depression and suicide (either having lost a loved one or having attempted suicide themselves).
Indelible images: Under this heading the article highlights the challenge of copyright infringement and confidentiality facing researchers in protecting the identity of their participants with the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram were sensitive photos can be distributed widely.
Representation: This section highlights the potential of conflicting accounts from participants of the same story, which often occurs within family settings and how to manage this. A second point explored the responsibility and thought that must go into choosing material to exhibit which is both appropriate, but at the same time allows participants to represent their experiences freely.
Vicarious Trauma: Lastly the article explores something that could easily be overlooked. The topic of 'Vicarious Trauma' takes into account the impact that the Photovoice activity might have on researchers and their own mental health given that they were engaged closely with participants who had traumatic experiences.
The article is useful in highlighting many of the considerations important should engagement practitioners wish to work with Photovoice especially around sensitive and emotive topic areas.
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