Abstract Photoinhibition of photosystem II (PSII) occurs when the rate of light-induced inactivation (photodamage) of PSII exceeds the rate of repair of the photodamaged PSII. For the quantitative analysis of the mechanism of photoinhibition of PSII, it is essential to monitor the rate of photodamage and the rate of repair separately and, also, to examine the respective effects of various perturbations on the two processes. This strategy has allowed the re-evaluation of the results of previous studies of photoinhibition and has provided insight into the roles of factors and mechanisms that protect PSII from photoinhibition, such as catalases and peroxidases, which are efficient scavengers of H2O2; α-tocopherol, which is an efficient scavenger of singlet oxygen; non-photochemical quenching, which dissipates excess light energy that has been absorbed by PSII; and the cyclic and non-cyclic transport of electrons. Early studies of photoinhibition suggested that all of these factors and mechanisms protect PSII against photodamage. However, re-evaluation by the strategy mentioned above has indicated that, rather than protecting PSII from photodamage, they stimulate protein synthesis, with resultant repair of PSII and mitigation of photoinhibition. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Photosynthesis Research for Sustainability: from Natural to Artificial.