Volume 4, Article 5

Insights on Island Living: Piloting participant-produced photographs
Nicole Kras and Jennifer Keenan

Citation: Kras, N., & Keenan, J. (2024). Insights on Island Living: Piloting participant-produced photographs. Journal of Ecopsychology, 4, 5, 1-11.

Processing dates: Submitted: 28th July 2023; Re-submitted: 27th February 2024; Accepted: 4th March 2024; 4th June 2024

Volume 4, Article 5


Background: While there is abundant research demonstrating the benefits of exposure to, and connection with nature, there is limited research about those who live in coastal communities, particularly island communities. Preliminary findings on island communities in the Northeast New England region of the United States have uncovered the considerable influence that nature has on individuals’ well-being, especially mental well-being.

Method: As part of a larger study, this study pilots the use of participant-produced images to
explore what it is like to live on an island in New England. Through interpretative engagement, an identified emergent theme in the photographs (N=47) confirmed the islanders’ reliance on nature.

Results: This reliance, further described in sub-themes, included how islanders depend on
nature for opportunities to be immersed in beauty and tranquility, the need for water-based
transportation, to engage in leisure time physical activities, and as space to make connections with others.

Discussion/Conclusion: Findings support the use of visual methods of data collection with this population, as well as a means of further exploring the restorative qualities of islands as
“blue spaces” for the enhancement of mental and physical well-being.

Keywords: ecopsychology, islands, interpretative engagement, New England, photographs


Nicole Kras, Ph.D. is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Human Services, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, A City University of New York, 50 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018, USA
Email: Nicole.Kras@Guttman.CUNY.edu

Jennifer Keenan, Ed.D. is Assistant Dean, Clinical Education Administration & Community Partnerships, College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, Clinical Education Services, Boston University,
635 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA 02215, USA
Email: jkkeenan@bu.edu