Photolanguage is a projective technique to elicit rich verbal data where participants choose an existing photograph as a metaphor and then discuss it.

The method is an innovative process that uses photographs as a means of communication so as to encourage and facilitate personal expression in small groups. The key is to use photographs that have been specially chosen for their aesthetic qualities as well as their capacity to stimulate the imagination, memory and emotions, and their ability to challenge the viewer to thoughtful reflection.

Each participant is encouraged to recognise the associations that spring up when they look at the picture, and to understand himself or herself better by trying to put this inner sentiment into words and to communicate it to the group.

Participants are invited to look at the photographs, not so as to analyze them, but to react to them. The point here is not to analyse the pictures but to be moved to respond to them.

Advice for using this method

" Facilitators of group using photolanguage need to experienced in group dynamics and to have an understanding of the photolanguage process. Experience has shown that photolanguage has a quite remarkable power to facilitate communication and intensify the dynamic operating in the group. The use of photolanguage calls for a particular sensitivity on the part of the facilitator. Facilitators need to be unobtrusive, nonmanipulative and sensitive to the needs of individuals in the group. The interpretation of any photograph belongs only to the participant who has chosen it. It is not for either the facilitator or group members to project their own individual interpretations onto a photo chosen by another. The listening quality of the facilitator provides the essential character of a group using Photolanguage."
This tip is taken from The Change Agency Process Guide: Photolanguage 


The Change Agency (n.d.) Process Guide: Photolanguage, Australia. Retrieved from

'Photolanguage' is referenced in: