How to use images of communities and locales

Possible uses of these images include but are not limited to:

a) Visual tours or explorations of locales. These photographs may be used as windows into particular locales that provide information on the variety of commercial and other activities, the character of buildings and streets, the spatial relationship of different sections each other, and - sometimes - information on the range of people to be found in the locale.

b) Starting points for investigation regarding change and continuity over time. When there are images of the same locales at different dates, the images can be the basis for defining the evolution of those locales. I have posted earlier records first, as the site is developed further records of the same locales will be posted as well, this will facilitate direct comparisons over time.

Chinese Association of Costa Rica building, San Jose, Costa Rica 2009.

Equally important, the older records may be compared to what can be observed directly in the same locales in the present. This could be further facilitated by making new photographs in the present. It is also possible, in some cases, to compare older images of locations with Google street views of the same locales made in recent years.

Regardless of the basis for comparative analysis, an attention to details will enhance the results because cursory comparison may be misleading. It is possible to generate very specific information from many of these records and even to make statistical comparisons.

c) References and triggers in interviews. The photographs, both as wholes and individually, can be used as part of interviews with people about the neighborhoods and locales. Such use of photographs enriches the volume and specificity of information obtained in interviews, both by allowing people to be more precise in their questions and responses and also because images will frequently trigger memories of other aspects of place and experience not necessarily visible in the images.

d) Stimulate thought/writing. On a creative/subjective level, any of these images have potential use as starting points for meditations and writing about a wide variety of aspects of personal and collective experience.

e) For additional information about the analysis of visual records, click on VISUAL RESEARCH.