Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Lynwood Montell, Jay Anderson

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


In 1973 folklorist Jan Brunvand presented a definition of modern folkloristics that challenged folklorists to take an eclectic approach to the study of traditional culture by employing theoretical and methodological approaches from a variety of disciplines including communications. This thesis represents one effort at addressing part of this challenge by discussing specific folklore and folklife objectives and how still photography can be incorporated in the research process.

Chapter one includes a brief overview of how still photography has been used in social science research, emphasizing use of the camera for examination and communication. Chapter two examines the photographic "moment" and discusses its relevance and application in folklore genre research. Discussions about three approaches to folklife research and the use of still photography to understand the broader concerns of regional culture constitute chapter three. Chapter' four outlines the basic methodological steps for using still photography in folkloristic research from pre-field preparation to post-field analysis.

Numerous photographs which illustrate or further explain key points are interspersed in chapters two and three. Sections on the problems and limitations folklorists are likely, to confront when using photography are also discussed in these two chapters. A reference bibliography covering the major photographic thrusts applicable in folkloric research is also included.


Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Folklore | Photography | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology