March 12, 2013

Time to get off your A!

Luxembourg Garden
A as in the Automatic setting on your digital camera, of course.

So you’ve got this great SLR camera with 36 million pixels and just as many functions, but you don’t have a clue how to use them.  Surrounded by all of the amazing sights in Paris, you're frustrated that your photos don't seem to do justice to the beauty that you saw with your eyes.

To unlock the mystery of your camera, take Meredith Mullins' photography classes at WICE.  Here you will learn that 'capturing the moment' is a delicate balance of artistry and technical skill. 
Meredith Mullins
“Everybody can take photos.  But not everybody takes the time to compose, connect, and think about why they are clicking the shutter.  That's what makes a great photograph; when you’re actually creating it. "   

As a young girl, Meredith's love for photography was born when her parents first gave her a camera.   Over the years this passion for photography led to her becoming a fine art photographer and teaching at Monterey Community College and Hartnell College, in California.   For Meredith, the ultimate goal of an artist is to evoke an emotional response in the viewer.  Her photographs should create a connection that makes someone think about or feel something.  

Here in Paris, many people take Meredith's classes to gain greater creative control and a stronger voice in their photographs.  The key things that she focuses on in the introductory classes are:

·         Connection:  Deciding what interests you about a scene and then capturing that emotion.

·         Lighting: Understanding how your camera reads light and identifying what the quality, direction, and quantity of light is doing to the subject.  

·         Shutter Speed:  Determining whether to freeze or blur action.  (Personally, Meredith likes the idea of seeing time pass in a photograph, so she's a blur action kind of person.)

·         Aperture:  How much of the scene is in focus.  

According to Meredith, when you have the perfect lighting or see a great story unfolding, if you have to think about too many things, then you're going to lose the moment.  By teaching the camera functions in small topics, little by little it all becomes instinctive.   Once the mechanics of photography become second nature, you are then free to have clear artistic expression. 

By changing her classes and keeping them new and interesting each year, Meredith has built a loyal following of students.    In her Exploring classes, Meredith discusses the technical or artistic focus of the day and then takes her students out to unique parts of Paris, to explore and make photos.  In this supportive and friendly environment, students can comfortably get feedback on their work. 

With each class, Meredith is always pleasantly reminded that each student brings their own unique artistic view.  Although they were all walking in the same streets together at the same time, each person's photos always turn out vastly different from the other's.

In the Creative Path class, she focuses more on the creativity of photography and finding and honing one's voice.  As a final product, the students in this class have made calendars, books, or art gallery exhibits of their work.  For Meredith, seeing how her students have progressed to the point where any one of their photographs would be applauded by the outside world is her reward and motivation for teaching.  

As for her own style, Meredith considers herself a street photographer.  She loves to wander about town, observe, and see things that are not ordinarily seen by other people.  She likes to capture life unfolding in a real way.  One of the highlights of her photography experiences was an early morning walk making photos of the pristine, untouched snowfall in her Parisian neighborhood.  Transformed by the flowing snow and the golden glow of the street lights, the normally mundane inanimate objects created a magical connection where she was able to capture some of the best photographs of her career.

In addition to teaching at WICE and also being on its Board of Directors, Meredith does exhibitions of her own work every couple of years.  She's also the Co-Founder and Director of the International Fine Art Photography Award which had 4,000 entries from 72 countries, and was viewed by 8,000 people at its exhibit last November.  As if that wasn't enough to keep her busy, Meredith's also a blogger for ‘Oh, I see!’.

Montmartre Soccer
- Do you need to have an expensive camera to take her classes?  No.  Meredith believes that once you've learned the technical basics and how to make a connection with your heart and eyes, then you can make beautiful photographs with any kind of camera.  

- Become friends with your camera now and start making your own photography magic!  Check out and enroll in WICE's upcoming photography classes.

Meredith Mullins
- From April 24th to May 1st, Meredith will be exhibiting some of her photographs along with the work of some of her former WICE students at the Studio Galerie B&B, near the Canal St. Martin.  

- To see more of Meredith’s photographs, visit

Post by Veronica Kugler
Photos by Meredith Mullins