Photo-ethnography by People Living in Poverty Near the Northern Border of Mexico
People living in poverty have had little opportunity to express their feelings about the precarious situation in which they live. Most studies on poverty have focused on describing its most prominent characteristics, more often in a quantitative manner. This paper aims to explore the way in which people living in poverty conceptualize what they consider important and/or interesting in their everyday lives. Disposable cameras were given to 30 participants. In this paper efforts of 10 different photographers are reported. After the photographs were developed the participants were asked to comment on any aspect or situation portrayed in one or more photographs that could be considered interesting or important to them. Three main topics emerged: family, environmental problems and dangers, and community actions. Most of the photographs and commentaries centered on physically and emotionally-related themes, with a clear tendency to denounce unjust situations and to portray the manner in which the poor cope with the vicissitudes of daily life.
photo-ethnography; poverty; northern border of Mexico; agency; contamination