Visual Anthropology

The introduction notes:

The story begins at age seven when John was hit by an automobile, suffering a fractured skull and what later was demonstrated to be severe damage to the left hemisphere of his brain; he became severely handicapped in spelling and mathematics….The hearing centers were so traumatized as to impair permanently the integration of auditory information. ….There were unforeseen consequences of the accident which were to be quite extraordinary in their implications.  This personal disaster explains in part, if my interpretation is correct, not only some of the depth and importance of his photographic imagery but of his thinking as well…..the holistic right hemisphere took over some of the functions of visual language….he has managed to incorporate an auditory quality into his photographic images as well as his vision….It is almost as if he is listening instead of seeing…

The book has an interesting guide to set something in its context, to keep foreground and background.  I hope the implications for design for all are self evident.

I recommend we tie specific photographic and participatory observation research by disabled people to existing tools like Google street view.

Disabled people as anthropologists to define how we find things and how and why we think they should be changed.

By photographing our surroundings and then discussing those photographs with others, a very powerful tool for change emerges.

Barcelona, with its co-operative and mutual history knows about these issues of equality – one of the introductions to Gaudi’s work I bought today notes that the city was explicitly planned to reduce inequality.

The work on design for all is part of a long and powerful history – Is not Barcelona FC owned by its members?



Visual Anthropology – Photography as a research method by John Collier Jr and Malcolm Collier.


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