Tracy Xavia Karner

 
Tracy Xavia Karner
IVSA Board Member

I have been involved with IVSA since I attended the first Bologna meetings 1996. This was also my introduction to visually focused research. As a long time photo-enthusiast, I am both a maker and appreciator of photographs of all genres. The IVSA offered a way to bring both my love of photography together with my academic pursuits.

In my research, I explore the social contexts of image creation and dissemination as well as the role of images in everyday visual sociability. My recent writings investigate photography in fine art venues and everyday uses, such as Facebook, and have been published in both popular and academic venues. I continue to be fascinated with how people use visual media to understand themselves and their worlds.

I am very proud that Discovering Qualitative Research: Ethnography, Interviews, Documents, and Images, 3rd Edition, (Oxford University Press, 2014) which I coauthored Carol Warren, was the first qualitative textbook to include visual methods as an important approach for social science researchers. Currently, I am working on a book, Passion, Possibility, and Photography: Creating an Art World in Houston, Texas which chronicles forty years of the Houston photography community, from its inception to its development as an internationally significant destination for photography.

Affiliation(s)

University of Houston, Department of Sociology

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  • Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way

    Howard Becker

  • We never really know what’s around the corner when we’re filming – what turn a story will take, what a character will do or say to surprise us, how the events in the world will impact our story.

    Barbara Kopple

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    For any picture, ask yourself what question or questions it might be answering. Since the picture could answer many, questions, we can decide what question we are interested in.

    Howard Becker

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    Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.

    Bertolt Brecht

  • Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

    Henry Rollins

  • I believe that we face incredible obstacles in our attempts to see the world. Everything in our nature tries to deny the world around us; to refabricate it in our own image; to reinvent it for our own benefit. And so, it becomes something of a challenge, a task, to recover (or at least attempt to recover) the real world despite all the impediments to that end.

    Errol Morris

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    If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.

    James Reston

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    Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

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    There are dignified stupidities, and there are heroic stupidities, and there is such a thing as stupid stupidities, and that would be a stupid stupidity not to have a camera on board.

    Werner Herzog

  • Give us adequate images. We lack adequate images. Our civilization does not have adequate images. And I think a civilization is doomed or is going to die out like dinosaurs if it doesn’t develop an adequate language for adequate images.

    Werner Herzog

  • If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you’ve got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you’re dumb and blind.

    Salman Rushdie

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    Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.

    Steve Harp

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    The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

    Zygmunt Bauman

  • You try your hardest to give people their space, but at moments you know you’re capturing their image in ways they may or may not be okay with. It’s that rocking back and forth between respect and betrayal that I feel like is at the heart of the film.

    Kirsten Johnson

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    One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

    Lisa Kristine

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    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

  • Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.

    George Lucas

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    The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.

    Pierre Bourdieu

#Visualsociology

Worcester Sociology

Crowd-sourced Instagram visual library of social life on Indian railways. #Sociology #VisualSociology bbc.co.uk/news/world-asi…

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