ALICE ZOO (London, UK)
Alice Zoo is a documentary photographer and writer based in London. She graduated from the University of Oxford in 2014, and recently completed a Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. Her photographs have been published by publications including Dazed & Confused, The Economist, It’s Nice That, and VICE, and have been recognised by international competitions such as Fotofilmic’15 and the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward prize. Her work explores the possibilities of communicating interior experience and affect through narrative and non-narrative sequences of images. She is particularly interested in the interaction of photography and the written word.
Shot over two successive winters, this project documents the women who swim in London’s Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond year-round, in water temperatures reaching as low as -1. In the darkest months the pond freezes over almost completely, and the space to swim in shrinks to a fraction; the women, undeterred, swim up to the ice’s edge to hear it creak and sing. These photographs bear witness to their exhilaration, their boldness, and the beauty and purity of the pond itself.
Practice Statement: How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
Photographing on film allows me to cultivate presence with the person or scenario I’m photographing, rather than thinking about the pictures I’ve already taken. It forces me to slow down, be patient, and look carefully. It encourages precision, not necessarily of output, but of vision. Apart from the effect it has on the process of photographic seeing, I also believe that it has a richness and textural colour that is impossible to recreate with digital media. Finally, I also believe there are important conceptual reasons for working on film. My work often concerns the physical process of change, alteration and decay. Working on film grounds my image in this same process, reflecting the fact that the photograph itself is a corporeal object, shaped and degraded by time.