For three weeks in July, Jen Mulrow ’10 attended a photography program offered in Paris by the Parsons The New School of Design in New York City. There, her ability to master film photography was put to the test.
“The homework was basically to go out and explore Paris with my camera at hand,” said Mulrow.
Within a small group of photography students, each individual was able to work at his or her own pace. A typical day began with watching videos or documentaries on photography and famous photographers, followed by working in the darkroom developing film, making contact sheets, and printing pictures with enlargers.
“We learned a lot about the camera itself too, touching on shutter speed, aperture settings, ISO/ASA, and how all of it relates to the amount of light you expose the film to,” said Mulrow.
“There is a nostalgic feel to film photographs that you cannot mimic with digital cameras,” said Mulrow.
Mulrow spent her afternoons on field trips based around photo shoots. Students were given an hour or so to walk around and take photos of the pulsing life of Paris in all sorts of locations, from the unmistakable Eiffel Tower and River Seine to street-life and outdoor markets.
At each location they received an assignment having to do with street photography, reportage, or portraiture. Mulrow’s favorite assignment involved a fashion shoot of members of her class.
There were also trips to museums and exhibitions to observe the work of prominent past and present photographers. Afterwards, students were given time in the dark room (where film is developed by hand) to catch up, work ahead, or simply “mess around with our pictures.”
“What I especially love about photography is how it segues into an immediate expression of fashion, playing such an important role in magazine spreads, lookbooks, catalogues, photo shoots and so on,” said Mulrow. “I love when pictures can tell a story, create a character, and invent a moment just by coordinating the right setting, the right person, the right clothes.”