Photovoice is a process by which people can identify, represent, and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique. The project places cameras in the hands of people to empower them to act as recorders, and potential catalysts for social action and change, in their own communities. One of the creators of the photovoice method, Caroline C. Wang, explains, “The methodology uses the immediacy of the visual image and accompanying stories to furnish evidence and to promote an effective participatory means of sharing expertise to create healthful public policy.” The photovoice method has been employed all over the world by refugee groups, the homeless and other marginalized communities in order to better inform policymakers.
Six formerly incarcerated DV survivors from the Coalition for Women Prisoners joined forces with the Columbia University School of Social Work to create a unique photovoice project, which explored the meaning of being a DV survivor caught up in the criminal justice system. Entitling their project Metamorphous of Empowerment, the women photographed images that represented their specific experiences as survivor-defendants. Grouping the pictures into four sections -”Hope and Resiliency,” “Barriers,” “Togetherness” and “Metamorphosis”- the women produced a collection of photos aimed at showing the obstacles they overcame, and their core values, such as hope and resiliency. Through these images, the photovoice project can help reframe popular images of domestic violence, which often present DV Survivors as victims with little agency and strength. View the photographs taken by these six women who are working for a more just criminal justice system for survivors and for all women.