IWD 2021 – Jennifer Mullins Photography

Header shot: Love

Over the last year, we’ve featured photography, reviews and interviews from Phoenix based Jennifer Mullins. Her contributions are always from the heart and show her love of the worlds of music and photography. And so, it’s lovely to have her involved in our International Women’s Day series, passing on the poignant story of how she ended up behind the camera and the solace it has brought…


The Transformative Power of Photography

I began my journey in photography when I met my future husband.  Mike had a lot of camera equipment and tremendous patience as he taught me how to shoot with film and the right settings to use. I soon developed a passion for expressing myself creatively through this medium, even placing second in a northern New York competition. I continued exploring photography after our marriage, but it waned once I had my kids. Then it was more focused on family photos.

On March 13, 2012, Mike died of an accidental opioid overdose, something he’d been struggling with for a long time. I was absolutely devastated by his death and realized that the world was no longer solid. I discovered the Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix, AZ), a place where I had some serenity, and I could breathe again. I soon bought a digital camera and began taking it with me when I would go there. Photography gave me respite from the grief that I was walking through, even if it was the short time that I was looking through the viewfinder.

Desert Botanical Garden

Over time, I began to spend more time photographing nature, discovering Arizona’s beauty, and learning techniques through online courses and videos that helped me become a better photographer. I learned from my mistakes, such as setting my ISO too high on a bright day while hiking and having nothing but blown-out shots to show for it.

Top: Solace in the Woods
Bottom: Fire on  the Mountain 

My focus in photography took a 180 degree turn when I began photographing my son, Alex, who is a musician. Suddenly, I was shooting in low-light venues without a flash and learning how to shoot with a high ISO. I was very fortunate to meet wonderful young women photographers who encouraged me to shoot in manual mode, showed me which settings to use, and gave me tips for editing the finished photos. Soon I was traveling to different venues around Phoenix to see my son and other local bands. I also became the photographer for the Phoenix Film Festival four years ago, which brought me into the world of indie films and filmmakers.

Alex Mullins

Sydney Sprague & Danielle Durack harmonizing

First Aid Kit

Coyote Tango

Since Mike’s death, my world has expanded so much. I’ve met so many wonderful musicians, photographers and enjoyed the intimacy of hearing live music in clubs. One night when I was driving home from a show, I realized how full circle my life had come. I met Mike when he played a coffee-house at Syracuse University and felt connected to him through his original music. Now I’m using the gift of photography that he gave me to capture the world of music and many other subjects and growing in creative ways that I never dreamed of doing at this stage in my life. Photography proved to be a pathway to healing.

Hands at Work

Words and photos © Jennifer Mullins: Website | Instagram 

The rest of our IWD 2021 series can be viewed here

12th March 2021