Identifying & Photographing Issues Using SHOWeD Process


  • To use SHOWeD process for issue pictures
  • To work toward making an issue map


  • Flip chart paper/whiteboard/chalkboard
  • Markers/dry erase markers/chalk
  • Pictures from “Practicing Photography” lesson plan (in Investigate > Photovoice)
  • Large school/community map
  • Digital cameras or phone cameras (1 per participant)
  • Projector for pictures
  • Copies of Photo Release forms
  • “Issues Brainstorm, Documentation, SHOWeD Issues Worksheets” handouts (1 per participant)

Prepare Before

A week before you intend to deliver this lesson, tell participants to take pictures of issues they see in their school or community. On the day of this lesson, make sure you have a way to project pictures so that all can see. Post school/community map on wall.

Warm Up

What is an issue or concern? Give a definition and an example of a concern. For our purposes, we will define an issue as “something that is a concern or an unmet need.” Hand out the “Issue Brainstorm” worksheets and have each participant complete it individually. Share out answers and write responses on the flip chart paper/whiteboard/chalkboard.


Today we are going to go in depth with some pictures.

Hand out the “SHOWeD Issues” worksheet.  Every participant will complete the worksheet using a picture they brought to class. They should also write a sample caption for the photo.   For this exercise the caption should look like:  “Word: 1-2 sentences that describes it.”  At this point, participants should be familiar with the SHOWeD format and able to complete this relatively quickly.

After participants complete the SHOWeD sheet and caption, show the pictures on the projector.  Participants will share what they wrote and their caption.

On the school/community map, put a post-it on the spot where this picture was taken and write the word from their caption on it.


Facilitate a discussion with the following reflection questions:

  • What are some examples of things that are issues (concerns or unmet needs)?
  • What are examples of activities that are issues?
  • What are examples of qualities, concepts, or ideas that are issues?


As we look at issues, we can include objects (e.g., textbooks, lockers, fresh vegetables), activities (e.g., student government not representing the school, dances being boring, too expensive, or unattended), or qualities (e.g., lack of trust, bullying, racism).   Think of qualities as what attitudes, beliefs, or ways people are treated that should be changed.  Just like with assets, we are not including specific people as issues.  Their behavior, attitudes, or beliefs might be an issue, but not the particular person.


Now you will be taking Issue pictures, just like you took Asset pictures.

  • Review photo guidelines.  They cannot stage or create a picture, or interrupt class to take a picture.  If the people in it are identifiable, they need to get a photo release.   Pictures with people where the faces aren’t seen or are obscured do not need a photo release.   Photos of people should show respect for those people.
  • Let participants know if there are any places in the school or community that are out of bounds.  Review what they should do if they are stopped in the hall or asked about using their phone (if applicable).  Let them know the timeline for taking and turning in photos.
  • Hand out the “Issue Brainstorm” worksheet.  Individually, brainstorm potential things, activities, and ideas that are issues they want to capture.  Do not collaborate on your brainstorm — we want to capture the diversity of the room and everyone’s individual experience.