Visual Studies

Visual Studies is the official journal of the International Visual Sociology Association. It is published three times per year by Taylor & Francis.As a major international, peer-reviewed journal, Visual visualstudies_coverStudies presents visually-oriented articles across a range of disciplines. The content represents a long-standing commitment to empirical visual research, studies of visual and material culture, the development of visual research methods, and the exploration of visual means of communication about social and cultural worlds.

The multidisciplinary character of the journal is reflected in its attention to visually-based research in sociology, anthropology, cultural and media studies, documentary film and photography, information technology, education, communication studies, as well as other fields concerned with image-based study.

Visual Studies aims to:

  • Provide an international forum for the development of visual research
  • Promote acceptance and understanding of a wide range of methods, approaches and paradigms that constitute image-based research
  • Reduce the disparity in emphasis between visual and written studies in the social sciences
  • Promote an interest in developing visual research methodology in all its various forms
  • Encourage research that employs a mixture of visual methods and analytical approaches within one study
  • Critically reflect and contribute to the dialogue surrounding ‘the visual’ across the social sciences and humanities
  • Provide an arena for in-depth exploration of various approaches, particular methods, themes and visual phenomena
  • Most articles published in the journal are accompanied by appropriate visual material, and the journal encourages visually-led submissions.


IVSA members receive a one-year subscription to Visual Studies as part of their membership. This one year subscription contains three issues of the journal, beginning with the first issue published after membership is initiated or renewed. Issues generally ship in March, June, and November. Other methods of subscribing to the journal can be found on the Visual Studies website. You can also visit the journal’s website to:

  • Find out about submitting your research
  • Request a free sample copy
  • Read about recent and forthcoming articles
  • Register to receive table of contents alerts, to ensure you are notified of the new research published in the journal


If you have any questions about submitting your article, which cannot be answered in the “Instructions for Authors” section of the Visual Studies website, please contact:

Timothy Shortell (Editor)
Visual Studies
Timothy Shortell, Ph.D.
Editor, Visual Studies

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

    Nicholas Mirzoeff


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

    Bertolt Brecht


    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

  • 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

  • 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


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

    William S. Burroughs

  • 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

  • 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


    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 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

  • 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

  • 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


    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


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

    James Reston


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

    Steve Harp


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

    Pierre Bourdieu


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

    Lisa Kristine


Worcester Uni Sociology

Interesting interview with Gerry Barney, who designed the British Rail logo in 1964 #VisualSociology…

Contact us

    Become a member