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Ricardo Gomez


Fotohistorias is a Participatory Photography methodology that elicits lived experiences through the use of photos or objects to stimulate conversation and introspection during conversational interviews and storytelling.

In one project we documented the life stories of migrants in the North, in the South, and at the US-Mexico Border, to help surface the richness, diversity and depth of their roots, experiences, and aspirations. Through Fotohistorias we elicit how immigrant day laborers, recently deported immigrants, and prospective migrants in their place of origin reflect their values and culture through photos and stories. In particular, we seek to understand what are the essential elements of everyday life for immigrants at the transition point of the US-Mexico border, in their community of origin, and in an established location such as Seattle, and how transience, identity, and culture reflected in the pictures taken and the stories told by immigrants. We worked with several nonprofit organizations: Casa Latina, in Seattle, WA, and El Comedor, in Nogales, Mexico, as well as community organizations in Cali and Bahía Málaga, Colombia. Members and beneficiaries of these organizations were invited to participate in the project, which included (1) participatory photography, and (2) life stories elicited through the photos. The work in Nogales explored the experience of the immigrants at the turning point of their migration process, the transience of a shelter on the side of the US-Mexico border. Work in Seattle explored the experience of the immigrants as they settle in their (generally precarious) existence as day laborers. Work in Colombia explored the experience of migrants as they dreamt of migration or returned to their place of origin.

In other projects we have worked with Tseltal indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico, to elicit their experience and understanding of Living Well (Lekil Cuxlejalil) as part of SIET, and to elicit the experiences of LatinX faculty, staff and students at the University of Washington.

Project Site:

Books using Fotohistorias

Gomez, R., Moreno, M., Berwick, J., & Iribe, Y. (2017) Voz de Mujer – Women’s Words: Women’s contribution to living fully among Tseltal Maya communities in Chiapas. Seattle, WA: One Equal Heart Foundation. (PDF)

Gomez, R., Zubair, C., Berwick, J., & Morales, M. (2017). Living Fully – Vivir Plenamente – Lekil Cuxlejalil: Lekil Cuxlejalil among Tseltal Mayan Communities in Chiapas – Lekil Cuxlejalil en las comunidades Tseltal Maya en Chiapas. 62 pgs. Seattle, WA: One Equal Heart Foundation. (PDF)

Gomez, R. & Tamayo, A. (2016). Stories of Mi-Gra-Tion: a flip-flap book. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace. Also in Spanish: Historias de Mi-Gra-Ción: un libro en movimiento.

Gomez, R., & Vannini, S. (2015). Fotohistorias: Participatory photography and the experience of migration, 375 pgs. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace. (PDF)

Journal Articles

Gomez, R. (2018). Ni aquí ni allá: Nociones de hogar y sentido de pertenencia en el contexto de la migración, Anuario Electrónico de estudios en Comunicación Social “Disertaciones”, 11(1), 169-194. Bogota: Universidad del Rosario. Link

Gomez, R., & Vannini, S. (2017). Notions of home and sense of belonging in the context of migration in a journey through participatory photography, Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC), 78(1). Link

Gomez, R. (2017). Raíces y ramas al viento: experiencias colombianas de migración y prácticas de información, Revista CS en Ciencias Sociales,(22), 33-53. Cali: Universidad Icesi. Link

Gomez, R. (2017). Vulnerabilidad y prácticas de información: experiencias de migrantes latinos (indocumentados) en EE.UU., Revista CS en Ciencias Sociales,(20), 93-121. Cali: Universidad Icesi. Link

Newell, B., Gomez, R., & Guajardo, V. (2017). Sensors, Cameras and the New Normal, Surveillance and Society, 15(1). Link

Gomez, R. (2016). Vulnerability and information practices among (undocumented) Latino Migrants, Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC), 75(1), 1-43. Link

Newell, B., Gomez, R., & Guajardo, V. (2016). Information Seeking, Technology Use, and Vulnerability among Migrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border, The Information Society, 32(3), 176-191. Routledge. Link

Conference Contributions

Iribe Ramirez, Y., Gomez, R., Mora, S., & Berwick, J. (2017). Integrated Information Systems for Indigenous Community Development in Chiapas, Mexico. ICIS Conference, SIG Social Inclusion.

Gomez, R., & Tamayo, A. (2017). Stories of Mi-Gra-Tion An experience with non-traditional media based on a participatory photography research project with Latino migrants in USA. Proceedings of Association of Borderlands Studies Conference 2017.

Baron, L. F., & Gomez, R. (2017). Living in the limits: Migration and information Practices of Undocumented Latino Migrants. Proceedings of IFIP WG9.4,.

Gomez, L., Gomez, R., & Vannini, S. (2017). The power of Participatory Photography in ICTD programs: freedom to explore beyond images. Proceedings of HICSS 50.

Baron, L. F., Gomez, R., & Vannini, S. (2017). The Power of Stories: information practices of migrants in and toward the US. Proceedings of Association of Borderlands Studies Conference 2017.

Gomez, R., Lefthand-Begay, C., Berwick, J., Zubair, C., Iribe Ramirez, Y., & Mora, S. (2017). Indigenous Information System in Chiapas, Mexico: integrating community radio, library and impact assessment for community development. Proceedings of iConference 2017.

Gomez, R., Guajardo, V., Newell, B., & Vannini, S. (2016). Mobile phones and information practices among undocumented migrants at the US-Mexico border. Proceedings of 4S-EASST Conference.

Gomez, R., & Vannini, S. (2016). Lessons from Fotohistorias. Association for Borderlands Studies Annual Conference. Reno, Nevada.

Guajardo, V., & Gomez, R. (2016). Panel: Engaged Research and Vulnerable Communities. Association for Borderlands Studies Annual Conference. Reno, Nevada.

Vannini, S., Gomez, R., & Guajardo, V. (2016). Security and Activism: Using participatory photography to elicit perceptions of Information and Authority among Hispanic migrants in the U.S.. iConference 2016. Philadelphia, PA.

Guajardo, V., Gomez, R., & Vannini, S. (2016). Information and Learning: Trust, Place, and Migration. iConference 2016. Philadelphia, PA.

Gomez, R., Yefimova, Y., Newell, B., & Guajardo, V. (2015). Photo Stories of Life at the Border: an interactive photo exhibition, Association for Borderlands Studies Annual Conference. Portland, OR.

Gomez, R., Yefimova, Y., Newell, B., Guajardo, V., & Vannini, S. (2015). Photo Stories: an interactive photo exhibition based on participatory photography with Hispanic migrants at the US-Mexico. Proceedings of ICTD 2015 Conference. Singapore, SN.

Yefimova, Y., Neils, M., Newell, B., & Gomez, R. (2015). Fotohistorias: Participatory Photography as a Methodology to Elicit the Life Experiences of Migrants. Proceedings of HICSS 48. Kauai, HI.

Newell, B., & Gomez, R. (2015). Informal Networks, Phones and Facebook: Information Seeking and Technology Use by Undocumented Migrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border. Proceedings of iConference 2015. Newport Beach, CA. (Finalist, Most Interesting Preliminary Results Paper). Link