Assessing tourism potential and challenges through the photographic essay

Tourism destinations rely on the power of images for their success or failure in attracting visitors. This paper presents vistas of a rural community in Devon, south west Britain, situated at the northern gateway to the Dartmoor National Park. These vistas have been complied and presented a series of photographic essays by students from the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Plymouth University. 1
The paper places these localised photo essays within a wider context of the use of this medium as tool for teaching and research in the social sciences and related fields of study, namely tourism and recreation studies, through a review of selected literature.
The main body of the paper presents the students’ photo essays as a critical evaluation of the small former market town of Okehampton as a potential tourist destination. Qualitative data provided from the students’ observations in the field and from their peers’ photo essays compliments the case study.

The penultimate section of the paper provides a critical evaluation of the photo essay as an alternative from of assessment for students of geography and allied fields of study. A review of the peer assessment method used is given together with the marking criteria. For example choice of title photo, ordering of images, composition and use of colour is discussed.

In conclusion, the paper evaluates the potential of the photo essay for use by students, researchers and planners as complimentary research method in the assessment of localities for their tourism development potential.

Assessing-tourism-potential-and-challenges-through-the-photographic-essay-Word-2010-version-SE-Edits-290513.pdf download View | Download
Keywords: photographic essay, photography, tourism
Categories: Critical action in the classroom