Mixed methodologies including sociological research methods and oral history

Course Leader, MA Commercial Photography

Paul’s research adopts a mixed methodologies approach employing both qualitative and quantitative research methods. It is essentially sociological identifying individuals and patterns of experience or identifying a set of issues and responding to them in ways that are intended to move the ground of public debate. It is also practice-led research involving testing out composition, medium and mode of delivery. He also employs methodologies of oral history using selected quotations from interviewees to accompany the images he takes to document my findings.

Paul’s research takes him to locations that are mainly hidden from public view including where people sleep rough or in temporary accommodation within and out with cities, and traveller communities living under the Westway in London. He has investigated workers in industries that have not been previously documented, such as the quarrymen on the Isle of Portland and craftsmen working in the manufacture of prosthetic limbs. Paul’s most recent research entitled ‘The Human condition’ focuses on the impact of genetic conditions on families, and in particular between siblings.

Paul’s research involves not only identifying appropriate locations and individuals but also importantly working to win the confidence of the subjects he intended to photograph and gaining their consent.

While each is a distinct project, all are concerned with local issues that have powerful resonance globally. Although Paul has been the lone maker of the work, the representation of the communities and narratives conveyed result from detailed consultation with the individuals involved. This collaborative approach involves discussions on the making, presentation and dissemination of the work and as such questions the process of documentary image making and the authority of the sole producer.

His aim is to inform and generate public debate through authentic narratives from minority groups unmediated by the press.