ZSL London Zoo Trip

This week’s studio session was based on our future project and included a trip to ZSL London Zoo in Regents Park. The brief was to generate visuals in the form of drawing, mark-making and photographs, but also document all our thoughts throughout the visit. This will then form the basis of one of the Final Major Project choices set in January- so potentially a very important trip!

I started out by thinking that I would use inks on site and imitate the way that I have produced work this term. However, the weather was perishing and therefore my drawing style altered into short observations of each exhibit that we visited. I used grey Promarker as I believed in gaining mark makings and form through my scribbles. Other more accurate depictions of colour and space were captured through my photography.

My thoughts are based around the idea that the concept of the zoo has become a big game of hide and seek, where visitors seek animals and find them within enclosure spaces and environments. I am particularly interested in the concept of photography and how we are no longer experiencing these animals through our eyes, but also through a digital screen. It seems that visitors are having a completely virtual experience and are more concerned about capturing the ultimate photograph than actually being in the moment. Therefore, a fair amount if my photography work was based around taking photos of people taking photos. This is inspired by my interest in our relationship with technology as a whole and how we can no longer separate social media and photography as a visual language from our everyday lives. Within a zoo environment there is also a frustration with photography as circumstances restrict our access to the ‘perfect’ image. Reflections of glass, wiring and distance make it difficult to capture the beauty of such creatures which can only be seen through the human eye.

Another linking idea came from analysis of my drawing work in which I have only drawn sections of animals. I have subconsciously drawn parts of each animal, which as a collective seem to be a brainstorm of all the species I spotted within the zoo. My thoughts are that because one can never see the full animal as they are always hidden within the environment, we make instant assumptions of its appearance. This is then creating an inaccurate image of an animal, there is the real animal which exists as a whole, and then the disjointed parts of the animal which the viewer observes. The question is then, how educational can the experience be if you cannot experience the whole animal, only parts of the creature. Furthermore, it would be an interesting experiment to draw the animal from my memory and then from a photo that I took and see how imaginative the mind is.

dsc_0482dsc_0505dsc_0520dsc_0529dsc_0555dsc_0573dsc_0575dsc_0596dsc_0603dsc_0637dsc_0692img_4852Other ideas included changing the environments which the animals live in to a mirror world and looking at the relationships to colour. For example, the whole zoo is full of greenery, so it would be interesting to change this into red colouring (the opposite colour on the colour wheel) or invert in Photoshop. This could also be done with the animals, so as to break down the expectations we have when entering into the zoo.


At the moment I have a few strong conceptions to begin my project with, and therefore the next step is to use the drawing work created within the zoo and respond to my photographs in the same manner. This will build up a collection of visual research which can be parallel to that of the academic context.


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