Father, son to display Oregon coast photos

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

When this month’s planned show fell through for The Albert Lea Art Center, a local photographer saw his chance to do something he had always wanted: display his photos side by side with his son’s.

“The Best of Scenic Oregon” includes around 25 pieces shot by either Albert Lea resident Tom Mullen or his son, Mike Mullen, on or near the Oregon coastline. Mike Mullen lives and works in Oregon now. This will be his first time exhibiting his work, and it is the Art Center’s first parent-child show.

Tom Mullen, who organizes exhibits at the Art Center, has been taking digital photos since he retired from his 25-year career as a school audiovisual director. Before he retired, he worked with film photography and dark rooms.

Mike Mullen

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Mike Mullen said he began taking photography more seriously between 15 and 20 years ago.

“My dad was really kind of the driving force, because you know every time we went on vacation when I was a child, Dad was always carrying a camera,” Mike Mullen said.

Tom Mullen’s photos of Oregon come from trips he takes to visit his son.

“Oftentimes if we’re on the coast, somebody is driving … and then Dad and I are saying, ‘Oh, pull up over here,’” Mike Mullen said. “‘We’ve got to take some photos,’ or, ‘pull up over there, slow down.’ So it requires patience by people not involved in photography.”

Most of the pieces displayed have been shot within the last 10 years. When Tom Mullen decided to organize the show, he asked his son to send him a disc of images.

“A lot of the images he has here I hadn’t seen before,” Tom Mullen said.

Mike Mullen said other Albert Lea residents might be able to expect something similar: to see things they haven’t seen before if they haven’t made it out to that portion of the country.

Stylistically, both Mullens lean toward landscapes, Mike Mullen said.

“I think they can probably see a little connection between the two of us,” Tom Mullen said, and added he is impressed with the work his son puts out.

“I enjoy looking at his art, at his photography, because I think he has an excellent eye for detail and making a photograph interesting,” Tom Mullen said.

Additionally, Tom Mullen appreciates the display has given him a chance to do something he has wanted to do for a while.

“It gives me a pleasure just to see his work and our work together, and just to see people enjoying it,” Tom Mullen said.

And for Mike Mullen, the show displays something he has been able to share with his father.

“I just consider it really an honor and a great thing to be able to do something like this with Dad,” he said.

“The Best of Scenic Oregon” runs from  Sunday through Dec. 31 at The Albert Lea Art Center. There is an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 19.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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