Gary Bratchford

In his research, Gary aims to develop the methodological and conceptual scope of visual sociology – as part of what he sees as the ‘third wave’ of visual sociology. In doing so, he foregrounds relationality and image studies as well as user practices in relation to the techno-social status of our age. In this regard, his recent (2021) book Visual Sociology: Practices and Politics in Contested Spaces (co-authored with Dennis Zuev) speaks to the interdisciplinarity of the subject and the varied constituency of scholarship and visual practice. To this end, this is not a visual sociologist’s manual or a comprehensive review of visual-based methodologies, rather, Gary’s book is a study of the nascent visual dependencies and visual utility emerging in the contested spaces that images now operate in.


Julia Tulke’s longitudinal Aesthetics of Crisis (AOC) project documents and analyses shifting currents on the walls of Athens. Julia follows Lyman Chaffee’s notion of political street art as a ‘barometer’ by tracing, in real time, newly emerging discourses and events: the austerity referendum and so-called refugee crisis of 2015; the growing visibility of feminist and queer protest and expression since the mid-2010s; dissent with documenta 14; anti-Airbnb and anti-gentrification sentiments; the response to COVID; and, most recently, graffiti removal as the aspirational performance of the end of crisis. Her work demonstrates the value of street art and graffiti as a methodological approach – rather than an object of analysis – able to render visible and sensible gradual changes in a particular urban social, political, and cultural landscape over time.

Manuel Ortiz Escámez

His recent books Sociology: Documentary photography and video as instruments for the construction and dissemination of knowledge in Social Sciences and Sociology with Audiovisual Media both enhance the theory and practice of visual methodologies and contribute valuable insights into participatory approaches, visual representation, and analysis.

Graffiti, Street Art and the Right to the Surface: For a Semiotic, Cultural and Legal Approach to Urban Surfaces and Inscriptions

Sabina completed her PhD in December 2018 at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (with supervisors Prof Iain Borden and Prof Ben Campkin). Her thesis was titled “Graffiti, Street Art and the Right to the Surface: For a Semiotic, Cultural and Legal Approach to Urban Surfaces and Inscriptions.”

Terence Heng is a prolific visual sociologist whose work engages with the performance of diasporic ethnic identities through place-making. He has documented the rituals and practices of Taoist spirit mediums, or Tang-ki, in suburban spaces in Singapore; as well as exhumations and the social and cultural life of Bukit Brown Cemetery.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


    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


    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


    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

  • 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

  • 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


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

    Pierre Bourdieu


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

    James Reston


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

    Lisa Kristine

  • 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


    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


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

    William S. Burroughs


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

    Steve Harp


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

    Bertolt Brecht


Contact us


    Become a member