Picturing Fatherhood: A Collaborative Photovoice projectJanuary 29, 2017
Picturing fatherhood, was a collaborative Photovoice project lead by Purple Frames in partnership with Waterbrook Church, i6 photography, Dennis X-po, and Mainstream Sports Academy for children aged 10-15 in Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya. The photovoice project was inspired by the findings of a report, State of world fathers, (Promundo, Rutgers, Save the Children, Sonke Gender Justice, and the MenEngageAlliance, 2015).
During the month of May (21-29) 2016, we trained children on basic photography, and gave them digital cameras to take photographs of their lives that have meaning for them in regards to fatherhood. The main purpose of the project was to provide an opportunity for children to have fun and to help them feel that their voices and perspectives matter, besides allowing the participants to express their perspectives in regard to fatherhood and at the end, show their photos to their family and friends in a public exhibit.
Why Photovoice project
Photographs provide us with reliable evidence on complex dimensions of social structure, cultural identity and psychological expression. Certainly, complex stories can be communicated with just one or two still frames instead of using a substantial amount of text or spoken words. Based on this, we sought to deconstruct the concept of fatherhood using visual communication since it has the power to reduce the level of uncertainty or vagueness of a message compared to verbal or text.
We adapted the principles of ‘Photovoice’ which gives power to the participants as it entails ‘a do it yourself component’. We explained to the children that this was an opportunity for them to represent their point of view and experiences in regards to fatherhood. We then gave then general parameters in which they were to take the photos as follows:
1. What does your father or fathers in general do?
2. What would the perfect father-child moment look like?
3. What/how does a father make you feel?
What we found out
Majority of children that participated did not have the experience of living with a present father (approximately 90 percent), therefore most photos were taken from their an hypothetical point view than from a lived experience.
When the children captioned their photos and held discussions regarding the pictures they had taken, intricate details regarding their different perspectives, values, emotions and memories as well as social economic settings where revealed that would otherwise remained vague if we had asked the children to verbally express themselves. Interesting content, topics and themes that would otherwise be overlooked or poorly understood from an adult viewpoint emerged.
The exercise also reviewed a great challenge in ability reading, writing capacities. This came about while captioning the photos and explaining why they had taken the photographs.
Read more about the Collaborative Photovoice Project