Volume 2 Issue 1 (2006)
Main Articles

Auto-Photography as Research Practice: Identity and Self-Esteem Research

Carey M. Noland
Northeastern University
Published March 2, 2006
  • auto-photography,
  • qualitative research,
  • quantitative research,
  • case study


This paper explores auto-photography as a form of research practice in the area of identity and self-esteem research. It allows researchers to capture and articulate the ways identity guides human action and thought. It involves the generation and examination of the static images that participants themselves believe best represent them. Auto-photography is an important tool for building bridges with marginalized groups in the research process, since it offers researchers a way to let participants speak for themselves. Furthermore, by using this method researchers can avoid exclusive reliance on survey questionnaires and other such research instruments that may be culturally biased. I present two research projects using auto-photography: one involving adolescent Latina girls and one involving Indian women. Based on the experience of these projects, I discuss auto-photography's importance in identity and self-esteem research. Finally, I discuss some of the benefits and challenges of working with this method.