London 2010: A Visual/Cultural Experience

Eighteenth century British author Saumel Johnson was quoted saying, "By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show."

This blog is the culminating document of a two week study abroad experience in London. Photographic, printed works, and this blog were produced as a result of this exploration. The course was designed to merge photography, letterpress, cut-and-paste, journaling and bookmaking techniques, with the cultural experience of the city. Students researched, observed and immersed themselves in art and culture through site visits, discussions, workshops, mapping and the pure adventure of being-in and visually exploring the city.

Niku Kashef, Instructor
Graham Moore, Instructor

Graphic Design 2750
Woodbury University, 2010

Participating Students
Leila Amer
Kristine Edinchikyan
Kimberly Galanto
Ambar Gomez
Naveen Gowda
Brian Hardy
Alexander Kuhse
Aaron Lopez
Jennifer Nassef
Brenda Ordaz
Laura Orozco
Elizabeth Sweeney
Jennifer Vo


My visual/cultural experience by Alex Kuhse

Trying to put the cultural and visual experience I had in London into a small blog post is nearly impossible. All the fish and chips, architecture, coffees, small streets, busy schedules, record stores, new friends, old friends in new places, stories, museums, art, tube stops, the list can go on forever. All I can say is London is a city full of...

So instead of glazing over my entire time, I'd rather focus on one cultural experience I had that blew me away on a wednesday night...

To really experience a new culture, it is crucial to spend at least a few hours on
your own wandering the streets. The city unfolds in front of you as you take the time to notice everything. I was taking photos and decided to venture down a strange alley half taken by construction. I was a bit weary at first, but as I ventured a bit deeper, I started to hear ukuleles. And as I got closer I began to see a back alley pub front courtyard covered in people playing ukuleles. I was a bit confused still and decided to head in. I saw a girl walk past me with her ukulele headed towards stairs to the basement and into the noise of many. I looked around me for a second, and then decided to follow the ukuleles. As I slowly took each step, not knowing where I was going, a sense of calmness overcame me. When I reached the bottom, I looked around and realized I had stumbled across a ukulele 'jam'. Behind every ukulele was a face glowing with good times as it sang at the top of its lungs to classic songs like 'Brown Eyed Girl' and 'Bad Moon Rising'. I immediately became a fly on the wall and caught the glow on their faces into my own. There were players from every age range, every walk of life, coming together in a basement of a pub to just play their ukuleles. I'd never seen anything like it. I couldn't help but sit there for a few hours happily observing the connection they all had with one another. The feeling of the whole scene, the joy in everyone's faces, was an awe inspiring scene from such a small unexpected group. Something I would have never experienced or seen if I hadn't have wandered off with the intention of just experiencing the city. I travel often, and I have always found the best experiences one can have is to just get lost and immerse yourself in your surroundings with an open mind. There is no other way to truly experience a new place.

That night was honestly one of the best I've had in the past ten years, and was a taste of London culture I never expected to find.

The outside world is a wonderful place if you take the time to see it.

Alex Kuhse
Graphic Design
Woodbury University


Weekend in London! by Brian Hardy

My weekend in London wasn't actually spent in London but about an hour south in the village of Arundel.

Arundel is a great place to visit and was one of the Highlights of my trip. The castle we visited is home of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. It was built in the 700s and was renovated constantly up until 1648. The castle was by far one of the most interesting things i could have seen.
-Brian Hardy
Woodbury University

My Visual/Cultural Experience by Brian Hardy

London is by far one of my favorite cities in the world. I had been there before when I was 16 and I couldn't wait to get back. When Niku my photography teacher told me that there was a class going to London over the summer I had to be a part of it. I figured my way there got together all i needed and on July 6th i headed out to London with my friends Alex and Naveen. I could not wait to get off the plane. We arrived and headed into the city.Whether we were walking around or just hanging out in a pub. I couldn't help but being in awe of ever aspect of the English way of Life. I noticed that life in London although it was fast paced as soon as 7 o'clock came, everything slowed down and turned indoors to family life. The simplicity of life in london is captivating and I could not have enjoyed it any more.
Throughout the trip I looked through the viewfinder of my camera. As an architecture student I could not help but fall in love with the variety of different styles of architecture. The contrasting styles sitting next to each other were spectacular. Even on the east coast of the United States there is no where that you can find 500 year buildings contrasted by the modern marvels of today.

Looking back on this trip I would have to say that if I had not gone my life would have definitely been missing something. My trip to London this past summer inspired me to make my decision to work towards and go accomplish my masters degree and live in London.

-Brian Hardy
Woodbury University
Architecture Student


My visual/ cultural experience by Kristine Edinchikyan

This trip to London has been one of the best experiences in my life so far. From the second that i arrived in London i was amazed by all of the beauty and history in the city. Everywhere i walked there was something new and exciting to discover. I came out of this experience having learned more than I could have possibly expected. Having grown up and lived in the same place my entire life I had no idea that a culture could be so different and welcoming. I loved every moment of my experience and I know that I'll always remember the wonderful people and places we went to along the way.

Kristine Edinchikyan
Woodbury University


My Visual/Cultural Experience by Aaron Lopez

So, It's my last day here in LONDON! It's been a great journey, full of unforgettable memories. The only regret is not spending my pounds wisely. haha. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the company of my fellow Woodbury classmates. There were some ups and downs, highs and lows, and times of feeling dead tired. Walking around London, I realized that the world really is a small place. Many of my classmates met people that were from California and some of them even ran into people they knew. It was crazy. It only took a day to get accustomed to the vast city of London. It felt so much like LA. The best moments for me were the photo exhibitions. Exposed at the TATE MODERN, Sally Mann at the PHOTOGRAPHERS GALLERY, and the Wolfgang Tillman at The SERPENTINE. It was amazing seeing work by artist that inspire me to take photographs. The 3-day letter press workshop was also another favorite. The simple Galley Press was my favorite thing to use. I couldn't stop thinking of things to do with it. London is a great city and the small things make it better. The pubs, the laughs, the drinks, and the friends made this trip amazing. London should expect many more visits from me in the future.

-Aaron Lopez
Woodbury University
Graphic Design

My visual/cultural experience by Jenn Nassef

It was about a year ago when the anticipation of the London trip began to build. I had never left the country before, and when I heard about this trip I knew I was that much closer to the beginning of my travel journeys I have always dreamed of. Experiencing a new country and interacting with their customs in a visual and cultural manner allowed us to perceive the city of London in a new perspective beyond the typical tourist's eye.
We were able to see many of the iconic landmarks and distinct aspects of London on our endless walks through the streets of London where locals rushed by and tourists roamed. The underground took us quickly to the many locations that we stopped to admire historic churches, vast castles, the infamous London eye, the towering Big Ben, and many other beautiful landmarks throughout the city and along the Thames river.The very first thing that I immediately associated London with was the rustic bricks that built a majority of the city. The unique colors and textures within these bricks were a form of art in themselves that held many stories of the past and revealed a sense of time. Unlike the urban sensation we live amongst on a daily basis, the city of London captured a sense of the past.
Being exposed to the variety of artwork within the galleries and museums we visited was an amazing opportunity and particularly inspirational. Simply walking through the streets of London was a gallery of local art in itself.The people of London and it's visitors also made this trip an amazing experience. There were so many friendly locals that shared London tips and tricks to making the most out of the city and what it has to offer. It didn't take long before I caught on to the London lingo. Cheers to the girl that fulfilled my coffee shop cravings; never had a better ice chai latte with "soya" milk.
I am more than grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to London and spend two weeks experiencing a new culture with friends from home, as well as the friends made throughout our time spent in the city. I feel as though I was able to grow as an individual by encountering an unfamiliar atmosphere and acquiring new skills. Traveling is a passion of mine, and this trip was a great way to begin the dreams I have always possessed.

Jenn Nassef

My visual/cultural experience by Leila Amer

While visiting London, I liked the fact that we were not in a major tourist area. It allowed for us the chance to roam the city like a local would. We would use the Underground as our major form of transportation and would often find ourselves alongside businessmen on their way to work. We would eat at local restaurants or pubs and listen to the locals talk amongst themselves, often times about the World Cup.

Even though we were allowed to act like tourists on the weekend, visiting the London Eye and Big Ben, it was great to get an alternative view of the city. It was so interesting visiting all the different galleries and observing the various styles of work that artists possess. The Sally Mann exhibit was my favorite. To see her work in person and witness the quality and the contrast of the prints was pretty amazing.

Even just walking around the city was a visual experience in itself. Some of the buildings were so detailed and incredible to look at. There were people from all walks of life passing by you on the streets and it was interesting to see how or if their mannerisms were different than our own. It was also quite interesting to see graffiti and how, for the most part, it was more for the sake of art than for vandalism. I never did find a Banksy piece, but I was able to see some pretty neat pieces while visiting Brick Lane.

All in all I had a wonderful London experience. I was able to spend time with old and dear friends as well as make some new and exciting friends. It was definitely a great way to spend two weeks in London.

Photo by: Naveen

Leila Amer
Woodbury University
Graphic Design

My visual/cultural experience by Kim Galanto

London was no doubt the highlight of my summer... no, my year. It was my first visit to Europe and I wouldn't change a thing. Every day was an adventure; every view, an inspiration; every experience, a new one. I'm very proud of myself as I worked hard, played harder, and took advantage of this wonderful opportunity. I saw, I listened, I learned. In just a short amount of time, a little over two weeks, I could honestly say that even if just little bit, I grew as a person, as an artist and as a designer. Simply put, my visual & cultural experience in London 2010 was good times with good peoples & I miss it already.

yes, please.

- Kim Galanto, Woodbury University, Graphic Design.

My visual/cultural experience by Naveen Gowda

My London experience changed my way of seeing the world. It opened my eyes in ways I would have never imagined. As this was the first time I have been out of the country in over ten years, I had some great expectations for both the city and for myself.

I was blown away. Not only did London live up to my anticipations, it induced much growth in me, personally. I can sincerely say that this trip has made me a better artist and photographer, a better designer, and a better and more worldly person otherwise. I had fun with my classmates, I had a great time meeting new people, and I got to see and hear and do things that, as a whole, summed up to nothing but an amazing visit.

-Naveen Gowda