Outsider Art Snapshot Reflection

Through this interviewing process, I was able to see the importance that an interview can have in the design process. I also learned that some ways of interviewing are more successful than others at getting the material and moments of serendipity that you want from your interview subject. Ethnographic interviewing was so interesting because I loved how you could ask indirect questions about your interview-ee or the subject you were discussing and still get answers that reveal the motivations behind actions, and even general life philosophies. In the end, these answers were some of the most relevant to the project and provided best characterization of the person. Ethnographic interviewing is as much about what someone says as it is the setting they are saying it in and the manner in which they present themselves. All of these things contribute to my belief that ethnographic interviewing can be a more honest depiction of a situation, practice, or person; one that is also more interesting than a by-the-book scripted interview.
Next time, I conduct an ethnographic interview I will prepare myself differently. I will try to think of it more as a conversation and less of an interview. Because we had prepared a few key questions before-hand, I found myself trying to squeeze these into the conversation if anything remotely close to the subject of one of my questions was mentioned. I did this instead of fully listening to his answers and then constructing a question or a response that could lead to another questions that might just maybe lead to the question I wanted. I think just honestly listening with question subjects way back in your mind would be a more successful way of interviewing and would ultimately make the interview subject more comfortable. I would also have a secondary cameraman or tripod at the ready to allow for more fluidity in conversations and transitions.
When I was editing my video, I learned that maintaining the integrity of your subject and his or her thoughts are extremely important in ethnographic interviewing. I found myself tempted to splice together what I thought were the most humorous parts of my subject’s interview, but that would not have been truthful to how he approaches his work, even though he is a funny guy. I sought a balance between seriousness and humor because in the end that best represented him and the motivations he has behind creating his art. I was most frustrated by the music selection for my video, and in the end I didn’t choose to include any. I had a specific feel in mind that I wanted and none of the songs that I introduced could be incorporated to my liking. (maybe next time I should work on editing music audio as well as video footage) Throughout the editing process, I kept in mind a specific feel that I wanted for my video based off of the footage I got and my understanding of my subject’s personality. Keeping that feeling in mind helped me shape how I edited the video and was a key step in my process. Next time, I would try my best to incorporate music if I thought that the interview warranted it, and I would try to smooth my transitions with audio or more robust, intriguing shots. I also wished when shooting I had tried to obtain a greater variety of depths of field.


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