“It’s Not Just a Picture When Lives are at Stake: Ethical Considerations and Photovoice Methods with Indigenous Peoples Engaged in Street Lifestyles”.


  • Robert Henry University of Saskatchewan
  • Chelsea Gabel McMaster University




Indigenous Peoples; Research Ethics; Community-Based Participatory Research; Visual Methods; Photovoice; Street Lifestyles


Photovoice is an arts-based, participatory research method in which participants take photographs to document their understanding of the research question. It engages participants in a process of creating and sharing photographs and dialogue, supports connections with others and can be a key tool for policy change advocacy. This method has grown in popularity over the years and has been heralded as ideal for research with Indigenous communities and other marginalized populations. While photovoice offers clear benefits, little research has considered the ethical dilemmas that can arise from this method from an Indigenous specific lens. This paper describes the photovoice approach and its benefits, notably its engagement and empowerment aspects. We then explore the ethical challenges photovoice raises drawing on a recent study that investigates the ways in which Indigenous men engage in street lifestyles. We conclude by offering lessons learned to guide the work of researchers using photovoice with Indigenous peoples or other marginalized populations.