People in the community are given disposable cameras, or asked to take pictures on their phones and upload them to a shared location. The idea is to record and represent their community through photography. This approach works really well with people who prefer pictures to written or spoken information.
The images and the stories that go with them enable community members to show and share their priorities. Photo Survey can be used to identify community assets or ‘what’s strong’ (see Asset Mapping) and is a creative way of helping people to record and reflect on their community’s strengths. It can also be used to support a Planning for Real process.
The images can also identify concerns/problems and start conversations about what’s wrong and needs improving. A shared understanding can be built through group discussion about the photographs.
Photo Survey is very flexible and is really good for engaging a wide range of different groups (including a wide range of age groups) and communities of interest (e.g. older people, people with disabilities, younger people) within a community of place.