This paper describes the use of high-speed photography, and videography, in the study of material distortion and movement when a shock wave traverses a highly deformable porous structure, such as a blob of foam or a porous bed of particles. The effects of surface porosity can be significant in determining the nature of reflection of shock waves from surfaces. Not only are wave geometries substantially modified but the resulting wall pressures are also strongly affected. It, in addition, the surface is highly deformable by being made up of an elastic matrix or a collection of discrete particles, then the reflection geometry and loading can be even more complex. It is known, for example, that shock wave impact on open-cell polyurethane foam attached to a wall can cause a significant increase in pressure on the wall compared to reflection off a plane rigid wall without covering. The motion of the interface is an essential consideration in understanding the dynamics of these interactions. These studies could have application to the effects of blast wave propagation over complex surfaces such as forests, grasslands, and snow; as well as in establishing the efficacy of safety padding and attenuation materials under shock and impact loading conditions. Studies on an assortment of materials are presented, using a variety of visualization techniques. Recording methods used range from short duration flash photography (both shadow and schlieren), through multi-frame videography; to single frame, multi-exposure video capture with a camera capable of rates up to 1 million pictures per second. In the case of shock wave impact on specimens of polyurethane foam, the results clearly show the expulsion and reingestion of shock heated gas from within the foam body as the material collapses and then recovers, coupled with longitudinal and transverse oscillations of the body of the foam material. For blast wave propagation over porous beds, occurrence of particle lift off, bed fluidization, and the generation of surface dunes are evident. The recordings allow the calculation of the velocities and accelerations of the various interfaces and particles to be made, using suitable image processing techniques. Thus, estimates may be made of the unsteady drag forces acting on the individual particles.