This piece addresses the problems with visual methods in research: “media do not provide a transparent reflection of the real world…communication is contingent on the social contexts in which it occurs” (639). If we didn’t already believe this, then focus groups might not exist, since they represent an “epistemological commitment” (644) to the notion that meaning is a social construction.
Buckingham cares about this because we must recognize that a researcher’s mere presence has an impact on participants in participatory research — one cannot just wish away power relations. Therefore, as researchers, we must analyze data for each unique project. We can’t assume methods necessarily empower, that visual methods equate to self-expression, etc.