Methodologies

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Participant Observation

I spent two Saturday's at the shop whilst the market was on and stood with my digital camera, next to a fridge that ensured that I kept out of the way of the staff and customers. 

On my first Saturday, I took a multitude of photos and whilst I was getting used the camera, a regular customer asked me what I was up to. Upon explaining my project, he as an avid photographer gave my novice self some advice: 

"You've started to tell stories with your photos because you're taking them in sequence. The trick is to stop that sequence when you think it gets boring because it will be boring to others too"

I applied this advice to both the photos and videos I took but does this make the photo's I was taking art? Maybe so but my intention for this project is for them to be viewed as records, whereby 'photographs are though to reproduce the reality in front of the camera's lens, yielding an unmediated and unbiased visual report' (Schwartz, 1989, p.120). That is not to say that they are completely unbiased because as my advisor had pointed out, I am the one telling the story and that comes with a certain perspective. 

However, to somewhat counteract this bias, I wrote down my observations on the memo app on my phone. This was highly convenient as I would have struggled to write given that I was standing. It also means that the pictures or videos I have taken have some a context to them that I could recall, rather than decipher solely from the image at a later date.