This website contains a number of public resources as well as our members resources. IVSA members can submit content to the site from the members area.

Showcase articles

Seeing Cities Change: Local Culture and Class

Seeing Cities Change: Local Culture and Class

In this book I bring together visual work on urban communities that I had been doing long before I had even heard of Visual Sociology, as well as after my encounters with the International Visual Sociology Association. As John Grady might have phrased it — almost 50 years of doing urban sociology visually.

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Untitled Study of NYC Streets

Untitled Study of NYC Streets

The way a city looks is, on any given day, both summation and confluence of hundreds of decisions made in the years and decades that preceded it. Across the history of photography, numerous photographers have taken it upon themselves to record the version of the city they experience with the understanding that the the presence of the landscape they take for granted is fleeting and vulnerable to choices made by government officials, developers, business interests, and even city residents who inhabit the sidewalk.

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Teaching Urban Documentaries, Part II

Teaching Urban Documentaries, Part II

In Part I, I discussed documentary pedagogy and Richard Broadman’s Brownsville Black and White (2000) and offered that we consider the strengths and weaknesses of the medium and individual products. This part concerns Bullfrog Films four-part environmental series Edens Lost and Found, Biophilic Design, and I.M. PEI: Building China Modern.

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Making the unfamiliar personal: Arts-based ethnographies as public engaged ethnographies

Making the unfamiliar personal: Arts-based ethnographies as public engaged ethnographies

I present the installation Geographies of the Imagination, an arts-based ethnography about long-term exile, as a form of public ethnography that unveils the acquisition and transmission of ethnographic knowledge as interactive, emergent, and creative.

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News/updates

Call for Proposals to Host Annual Conference

The IVSA has launched a call for proposals from individuals and organizations interested in hosting our annual conference. Proposals are being accepted for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

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Rebel Video tour

‘Rebel Video’ a project previously featured in the IVSA Showcase visits the USA, Canada, and Europe. It’s a book launch event with film screenings and discussion. The aim of the tour is to stimulate discussion about the video movement of the 70s and 80s and its relevance for film/video activism today.

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  • 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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    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

  • 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

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

    Pierre Bourdieu

  • 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

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

    Bertolt Brecht

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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

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

    William S. Burroughs

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

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

  • 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

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

    Steve Harp

  • 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

  • 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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    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

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

    James Reston

#Visualsociology

NESRI

RT @veralchang: Reflecting on the meaning and #inspiration behind our @SSRC_org Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for #VisualSociology submission…

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