Zoos to Museums


Richard Bouchard
Digital Documentary Photography
December 2007

Zoos to Museums ? or something in between...

For my final project, I shot at the following locations for about 1-3 hours at each (typically, I shot 100-400 pictures at each; although?particularly at the zoos?some of these shots were for my own portfolio and didn't really apply to my project focus):

Art Museums
1) The Metropolitan in New York, NY
2) The Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY
3) Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC
4) North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC

Zoos?1) The Central Park Zoo in New York, NY
2) The National Zoo in Washington, DC
3) Jacksonville Zoo in Jacksonville, FL
4) North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC

As is explained in my project's audio monologue, my initial intention was to capture a person's transition from childhood to adulthood by comparing the atmosphere of zoos to that of an art museum. Although I did find some parallels between these comparisons?childhood to adulthood and zoos to museums?there were quite a few inconsistencies with my proposed extended metaphor. Needless to say, I eventually decided it was my own perspective that needed to (and in fact did) change throughout.

Ultimately, I was very pleased with my project. Although my approach was perhaps a bit unorthodox, I achieved three of my goals in taking the class:

1) Learned to take pictures in various lighting situations. From the outdoor setting of a zoo to the indoor venue common with a museum, I was forced to alter my shutter and ISO speed often.
2) I was forced to take pictures of people. In the past, I primarily focused on landscapes and animals. Having to shoot animals caused my limited repertoire to expand ever so slightly.
3) I got to shoot at two of my favorites types of places: zoos and museums. If you haven't noticed already, I quite like going to zoos and museums, and so having them be the focus of my project made it all the more pleasant.