"Photovoice is a method that enables people to define for themselves and others, including policy makers, what is worth remembering and what needs to be changed." - Carolyn Wang

The photovoice concept was developed by Caroline C. Wang and Mary Ann Burris and is described in a series of research articles. They used three main sources to create the photovoice concept: the theoretical literature on education for critical consciousness, feminist theory, and documentary photography; the efforts of community photographers and participatory educators to challenge assumptions about representation and documentary authorship; and their experience applying the process in the Ford Foundation-supported Yunnan Women's Reproductive Health and Development Program.

Photovoice blends a grassroots approach to photography and social action. It provides cameras not to health specialists, policy makers, or professionals, but to people with least access to those who make decisions affecting their lives.

Photovoice has three main goals:
  1. to enable people to record and reflect their community's strengths and concerns;
  2. to promote critical dialogue and knowledge about personal and community issues through large and small group discussions of photographs; and
  3. to reach policy makers.

The stages of photovoice include:
  1. conceptualising the problem
  2. defining broader goals and objectives
  3. recruiting policymakers as the audience for photovoice findings
  4. training the trainers
  5. conducting photovoice training
  6. devising the initial theme/s for taking pictures
  7. taking pictures
  8. facilitating group discussion
  9. critical reflection and dialogue
    • selecting photographs for discussion
    • contextualising and storytelling
    • codifying issues, themes, and theories
  10. documenting the stories
  11. conducting the formative evaluation
  12. reaching policymakers, donors, media, researchers, and others who may be mobilised to create change
  13. conducting participatory evaluation of policy and programme implementation