In this way according to Freire a reflection is only truly critical when it leads totransformative social action, in the outside world.
For Mezirow social actionis a natural and desirable consequence of the process of transformativelearning – however it is not intrinsically necessary to the process.Photography for both is a powerful medium that can effecttransformative change. Freire has himself on occasion used participatoryphotography to draw attention to conditions of oppression.
In Freirean criticalpedagogy, photographs taken by learners themselves have the potential toplay a key role in helping them to critically reflect on their own livedexperiences, in clarifying and articulating how they face injustices, and inframing their ideas for action. Freirean inspired photography projects havetended to focus on the to literal and rational reflection of the socio-politicalcontext of the learner.
For Mezirow’s early work, rationality was also paramount, asexpressed through dialogue and critical reflection. His later writing gave morerecognition to emotional or intuitive experiences – such as image-basedreflection - having the potential of leading to transformative learning.
Lightfoot-Lawrence and Davis note that “…making and finding meaningthrough art is a transformative experience. Once we have encountered seeingand thinking in the aesthetic realm, our ability to think and see more generallyis altered”.
Having sketched out the basics of the theoretical background, we turnto the project in question.
See Brown (2004, p. 86) for further elaboration of this analysis.
One example dates from 1973, when Freire was conducting a literacy project in a barrio of Lima, Peru. He asked people the question "What is exploitation?", and requested theanswers in photographs. The ensuring images spurred widespread discussions in thePeruvian barrio about forms of institutionalized exploitation and ways to overcome them. SeeSinghai (2004).
Mezirow (2000). The mytho-poetic view of transformative learning subsequently developedby Dirkx expanded on these intuitive ways of knowing.
Lightfoot-Lawrence and Davis, cited in Morton (2007, p. 268)