Spotlight on Ohlone:
Photography professor, published
By Dave Sheffer, Staff writer.
Thursday, February 11, 2010—Reprinted from Monitor.
Professor Paul Mueller was given his first camera at the age of 15 and hasn’t stopped taking photographs for more than 30 years.
He has taught photography at Ohlone for 10 years. And as a parent, he loves taking pictures of his daughter Sadie, just as any parent does.
His 3-year-old daughter Sadie had hip dysplasia; her left femur was not connected to her hip socket. The surgery involved reshaping both the femur and the hip socket and then connecting the two.
Mueller said he took pictures because it seemed to be a story to tell.
He found out about the Emery University photo contest while his daughter was recovering from the surgery. He edited the book into a pdf file that he sent off to Emery University to give himself a deadline on finishing the book, which is so important in the field of photography when so often photographers don’t have any kind of deadline at all.
The contest was about the essence of home and so he felt that home is family and difficulty is a reminder of how important things are.
Mueller won second place out of more than 130 photographers and 700 photos that were submitted to Picturing Home: Friends of Emory Visual Arts Juried Photography Exhibition. Mueller said he did not expect to win second place; he didn’t think the contest was more than an exhibition at Emory University.
The staff of Ohlone has been very supportive of his award due to an announcement going out to teachers, however his students are generally unaware that he won an award, so he is happy that this article will inform so he will not have to.
His wife has been supportive of the project throughout the entire process, which is a good thing since she is in most of the pictures and his daughter being 3 years old, has yet to grasp the concept that there are pictures of her in the book.
Only three copies of the book were made since they were handmade; one is for Mueller and his wife, one is for his daughter Sadie and the third was sent into Emery University Gallery.
The book sent to Emery University will be returned to him and he will end up with an extra copy of the book that he is unsure about what to do with.
Mueller’s advice for budding photographers is to photograph constantly, ask for honest advice, look at photos constantly, and do not get hung up because it takes a lot of bad photos to make good ones.
Mueller says that one of the best things to come out of this experience is his new love of hand printed books. He said that it is great to have something to hold that is tangible and that it was a humbling experience.