Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society: Project Animalia

“Ria Mishaal’s ‘Project Animalia’ shows children interacting with their favourite animals in fantastical digital composites. It’s designed to encourage children’s connection with and respect for the natural world.”

I am thrilled to announce that on the 26th November 2018, I was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society for my Project Animalia panel.

The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) exists to educate members of the public by increasing their knowledge and understanding of Photography and in doing so to promote the highest standards of achievement, in order to encourage public appreciation. The RPS’s Distinctions are recognised as measures of achievement throughout the world.

The Fellowship is the RPS’s highest level of Distinction. It requires a body of work of 20/21 images of a distinguished photographic and creative standard accompanied by a Statement of Intent. It is 8 years since I was awarded my Associateship and it has taken that time for me to find a project I was passionate about, that challenged and excited me personally and creatively. I hope you enjoy the images.

In this project, which I affectionately called ‘Project Animalia’, I show children interacting with their favourite animals through digital composites: painterly, fantastical images that look as if they could be real. This project is designed to encourage children’s connection with and respect for the natural world. The children chose their favourite animals, which were those they were familiar with through seeing them at a local wildlife centre, or from popular TV or film representations of animals. These are animals children have exposure to are those they are aware of, and this has obvious implications on future conservation.

While some of the animals in the project are domesticated (cats, dogs, pigs etc), it is very important to note that many of the animals do not make suitable pets. I hope that my work, which aims to inspire the interest of engagement of children in the natural world, will help not only more interest in the conservation of wild species but also a respect for the wild.

FRPS Submission (Fine Art) Statement of Intent:

In this project, I wanted to create meaningful portraits of children they could connect with. I had the idea to create composites of children with their favourite animals, but rather than the stoic atmosphere of a Dutch Masters’ painting, I wanted to capture the personality of the children and animals, showing them interacting as if they were really in the same space. The aim was to create painterly, fantastical images that would look to the children as if they could be real. All images are composites.

The children varied in age from 2.5yrs – 10yrs, and were photographed in my studio with parents present, against backdrops I hand-painted. All animals were live and photographed in my studio, at zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, and in the wild on travel trips I have taken. I devised compositions that would suit the personality of the children and the species they had chosen.

Royal Photogrpahic Society Fellowship Panel by Ria Mishaal called Project Animaila



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