Mother and Grandmother
"Just look at my mother's face! Just look at it! It says it all! Clearly, clearly, my grandmother has done that many times before so she could be the centre of attention. My mother's face says it all. Of course, you see, my mother wasn't supposed to get married; she was supposed to stay at home and look after her. And that's not long before she married my father. Honestly, just look at my mother's face!"
Photo elicitation as a method
Photo elicitation is a method often used with digital heritage and storytelling and, simply, uses images to encourage discussion and storytelling either online or as part of an interview methodology. The image is normally used with relatively minimal background information beyond a caption (and sometimes not even that). It can be a particularly powerful method for eliciting quite deep and often visceral responses and stories.
The photograph above was used in a story gathering interview with a Viscountess about her grandmother, an extremely elegant society figure from the 1930s; the two women in the centre are her mother and grandmother respectively. It was introduced to the conversation only as 'And this was in 1947'. The immediate reaction of the interviewee was the quote given above, a fairly powerful and affective reaction to a photograph she had never seen before. The two hour interview was based around images and photographs being used as a tool for reminiscence and memoir, and yield results (stories) of extraordinary richness and depth, demonstrating strong emotional responses and reactions.
Every picture tells a story.