The nomination deadline for the 2024 IVSA Awards Programs is February 16, 2024. This is the last day nominations and supplementary materials will be accepted for all IVSA award programs, including:

RIEGER Awards ($1000): for outstanding work in visual sociology by graduate students
PROSSER Award ($1000): for outstanding work in visual methodologies by beginning scholars
ACAR Awards ($1000): for exceptional work in advancing Anti-Colonial and Anti-Racism goals and principles

For a great many of us in the IVSA, Howard (Howie) Becker modelled what it was to be an engaged social researcher and intellectual who continued to inspire us with each of his insightful books. We would like to remember Howie not only for ourselves, but also for the coming generations of researchers who may not have known him, although they may be influenced by his work in ways they may not fully appreciate.

We have added the 2022 Awards to the site, it’s wonderful to see the knowledge and creativity within our field and to be able to reward it. Please take some time to read about each winners work.

After three years of convening solely online, the 2023 IVSA meeting will be hosted by Multimedia University of Kenya (MMU) in Nairobi from 27-29 June. The institution began in 1948 as a telecommunication hub for the East Africa Common Services and was chartered as a public university in 2013. Situated on a serene 76 hectares in the historic Karen area of Nairobi, the main campus is adjacent to Nairobi National Park and home to a colony of baboons, mischievous monkeys, and many grazing warthogs who would love to see you there next June!

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the IVSA Board of Directors, it’s my pleasure and privilege to announce that Wesley Shrum has been ratified into the position of Treasurer!

  • 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


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

    Bertolt Brecht


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

    William S. Burroughs

  • 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

  • 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

  • So it is my firm belief, that if you want nowadays, to have a clear and distinct communication of your concepts, you have to use synthetic images, no longer words.

    Vilém Flusser


    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


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

    James Reston

  • 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

  • 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


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

    Steve Harp

  • 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


    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


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

    Pierre Bourdieu

  • 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


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

    Lisa Kristine


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

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

  • 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


    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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