Метод фотоинтервью в исследовании профессионального производства визуального
Photo-elicitation interview in the research of professional production of the visual.
The paper considers sociological appliance of one of the visual methods – photo-elicitation interview. The method implies interviews that use photographs as stimuli for informants’ responses and reflection. Despite the interest in visual culture in the contemporary social sciences the method is hardly ever used in the analysis of its production. There are works with photo-elicitation interviews that include the analysis of visual dimensions of the researched phenomena as well as photographic conventions. However the photo-elicitation interviews have not been used in order to get the narratives of the professional producers of the visual.
The author presents her own experience of using the method in the research of production of news images and shows its advantages and difficulties. The research was focused on the production process in the practice of employee of the photo department of major wire services. The ethnographic observation of the work of the photo departments showed that the photography should not be considered as something that appears at the end of the «production chain». Rather it should be noted that photography is present in all everyday practices of photojournalists. The traditional interviews allowed grasping the principles that guide the news images production in wire services. However, the informants had difficulties in giving examples and demonstrating how those principles are applied or missed in their professional practices. Thus, the photo-elicitation method was used so that the informant could have their own news photographs to rely on while sharing their experience. Moreover, the questions concerning concrete visual decisions were easier to ask having actual examples before the eyes. The photo-elicitation interviews made possible to study the practices of deviance from the visual format of wire services, to get the narratives on professional practices beyond self-representations of professionals, to contextualize the decision-making process concerning visual and to see the backstage of profession. The method proved to be fruitful for studies of professional production of the visual as well as for the studies of professional practices and the principles of visualization.