Abstract

This study employed reflexive photography to gain information about themes that residents desired to share with visitors as a component of planning tourism. The use of photographs was grounded in the reciprocal context in which photographs would reflect residents’ perceptions of their daily life. The study was conducted in the village of Sambi, Indonesia, in June-July, 2007. Twenty-eight residents were issued single use cameras and were asked to take pictures of things, places, people, or anything else that they deemed important to them in their village that they desired to share with visitors. The photographs were developed and interviews were conducted to elicit information about the pictures they took. Data analysis used both photographs and quotes from interviews. The study used an inductive thematic approach to analyze the data. The study found five major themes that participants desired to share with visitors. Those themes were rural way of life, environmental features, built structures, people, traditional ceremonies and arts. The study recommended that the development of tourism in the village of Sambi should be based on the identified themes as well as the operationalization of those themes. The application included designing routes to connect all themes. The method showed that photographs could facilitate to bridge the cultural distance between local communities and the tourism planners which often became an issue in tourism planning.

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A Postcard from the Village: Using Reflexive Photography as a Means of Developing Tourism

This study employed reflexive photography to gain information about themes that residents desired to share with visitors as a component of planning tourism. The use of photographs was grounded in the reciprocal context in which photographs would reflect residents’ perceptions of their daily life. The study was conducted in the village of Sambi, Indonesia, in June-July, 2007. Twenty-eight residents were issued single use cameras and were asked to take pictures of things, places, people, or anything else that they deemed important to them in their village that they desired to share with visitors. The photographs were developed and interviews were conducted to elicit information about the pictures they took. Data analysis used both photographs and quotes from interviews. The study used an inductive thematic approach to analyze the data. The study found five major themes that participants desired to share with visitors. Those themes were rural way of life, environmental features, built structures, people, traditional ceremonies and arts. The study recommended that the development of tourism in the village of Sambi should be based on the identified themes as well as the operationalization of those themes. The application included designing routes to connect all themes. The method showed that photographs could facilitate to bridge the cultural distance between local communities and the tourism planners which often became an issue in tourism planning.