Levy Conference: Photographic safari of a circumnavigator in Rwanda

A map of Africa set the mood early on in Virginia Mullin’s Levy Lecture photo presentation and slideshow on Tuesday, June 14, as she shared her experiences of a pre-pandemic trip to see the Rwanda gorillas in their natural habitat.

Mullin traveled the world for business and pleasure. She is a “certified” circumnavigator and said she can recommend things to do and places to explore on every continent.

Virginia Mullin’s Levy lecture presentation and photographic slideshow shared her experiences of a trip to see Rwanda’s gorillas. Credit: Photo courtesy of Virginia Mullin

She shared her passion for travel with the Levy lecture crowd, describing some of the preparatory requirements like vaccinations and what it was like to travel to and through the jungles of Rwanda.

Mullin’s son-in-law gifted her for the trip in 2017. He arranged key details and kept Mullin updated on the proposed itinerary and a list of clothing and vaccinations she would need.

The day the group went to see the gorillas, they were warned not to wear red “because it made the gorillas angry,” Mullin said. The group was constantly reminded that the humans were the visitors and not the other way around.

Mullin said the trip would have been impossible without the drivers and guards of the jeeps that transported their small group. They carried guns – not to protect the passengers from dangerous animals but to protect the gorillas from poachers.

Mullin’s photographs of the male silverback gorilla, mature female gorillas, a baby gorilla, and a few “toddler” gorillas made viewers feel like they were in the moment.

Over the years, Mullin said she was trained by a professional photographer. One of the most startling photographs, that of a gorilla foot, showed a deep level of detail and texture.

“I loved them,” viewer Susan Slocum said of the photographs. “You made me feel like you were there by proxy.”

A recording of Mullin’s webinar is available on the Levy Senior Center Foundation YouTube channel.

Michael E. Marquez