Book Review

One of the books I am currently reading is an AVA Publishing title, from their ‘Basics’ range called Creative Photography; Behind the Image – Research In Photography.

A body of photographic work is developed through knowledge gained in exploring the medium

So far, I am only a few chapters into the book, but this has been an interesting read and it is quiet insightful on the best ways in which to conduct various types of research within photography.

The authors Anna Fox, professor of photography at the University for the Creative Arts, and Natasha Caruana, an artist, lecturer of photography and founder of studio STRIKE, based in East London, outline a comprehensive workflow which includes:

  • Planning; looking at the initial stages of the research process, including subject matter and types of exploration; budgeting (obviously for more professional bodies of work); timetabling and creating proposals.
  • Developing ideas through research; covering research tools and how best to use them; developing a framework for research; the value of utilising archives in places such as museums, libraries and the Internet.
  • Practice in research; what does practice placed research mean? How do different kinds of research relate; genre and style are also explored.  This chapter also begins looking at critical reflection.
  • Compiling your research; with topics such as recording invaluable information and making the most of the work conducted including the creation of sketchbooks, blogs and archives.
  • Research and practice; here the authors discuss ways to be innovative and how to create new ideas; the connection between research and practice; the importance of reflecting on the work ‘done so far’, they also highlight context, audience and ethical considerations.
  • The impact of research; the final chapter of this book looks at the values based on research in the contemporary world and reflects on how it allows for the improvement of future work.

This well laid out book takes a logical path and is insightful on the best practices for researching photography.  It is one of those publications that allows you to dip into chapters as and when you need specific information, so it is not a case of slogging through the pages, in a hope that you might come across something relevant to your current study needs.

I decided to try this book, as I knew I needed assistance in my research practices, and this is giving me a gentle nudge in the right direction.  You can find full details of this publication below.



Fox, A., Caruana, N.  (2012) Behind the Image: Research in Photography.  London: AVA Publishing SA.

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