May 7, 2014

WICE Members: Spotlight on Henrietta Richer

WICE presents its Up Close and Personal series to give you an insider view of the fascinating members and staff who make up this remarkable association.  This week's focus is on Henrietta Richer, longtime WICE member. 

Photo by Henrietta Richer

1)  Why did you move to Paris and what do you do  here?   

I moved to Paris in 1986, having completed my university degree, to be with my future husband. I taught English language, culture and translating for many years and free-lanced articles providing both the text and the photographs. Now that my daughters are grown up and financially we are more comfortable, I devote all my time to writing short fiction, photography and my blog. This past year I’ve been improving my photography thanks to WICE courses, with a view to selling my work in the future, probably on a print on demand site, although I’ve no idea which one to choose. 
Henrietta Richer
2)  How did you find out about WICE and why did you join?   

When I first lived in Paris I read FUSAC to look for jobs and saw the WICE ads. The first courses I took were with Jennifer Dick, who has since moved on, about developing creativity in our writing. I was on maternity leave at the time and it was such a pleasure to be me again and not only la maman de... Jennifer encouraged me to continue writing.  

 3)  Which WICE courses have you taken and what did you gain from them? 

I’ve taken lots of WICE courses over the years, many of the fiction courses, a meeting with a publisher during the Paris Writing Workshop, and more recently photography and art. WICE courses are always great value and I’ve never been disappointed by the instructors, quite the contrary. All the instructors I’ve had through WICE have helped me move forward creatively and along with working alongside other participants.   

Photo by Henrietta Richer

4)  What made you decide to start a blog and how do you find inspiration for your topics?

I started a blog because as a creative person who wants to sell her work, it’s vital these days to build your virtual network. Initially that was my only objective, but the pleasure of ‘chatting’ with like-minded people all over the world, quickly became far more important. I only follow a few blogs assiduously so that I have time to really engage and I would so love to meet those bloggers in person, as I feel they have become real friends.   

5) Can you tell us about a memorable experience that you've had related to your blog?  

I started blogging on Blogger, which was a great way to learn, but I felt it was fairly limited in design and networking capacity. I transferred to Wordpress in October 2012, so my blog is quite young and when someone tells me that they enjoy my photos and articles that is a memorable moment. I grew up long before the internet revolution and pursuing a creative career is generally very lonely, so being able to exchange thoughts and feelings with people internationally, is wonderful and quite magical.   

6)   What is it that draws you to photography and what are you trying to express with your images?

Photo by Henrietta Richer
My mother is an artist, so being visually aware and observant came naturally. Unfortunately, when I finished school I didn’t have the confidence to try for an Art College, as I secretly dreamed, and decided to study languages instead, which led to writing fiction. I’m not trying to express anything in particular with my images, many of them have a simple reporting objective and my creative work tends to concentrate on details. I’d like to encourage people to slow down and enjoy the little moments of beauty that surround us, but having time to be slow is a real luxury.   

7)  What have you enjoyed the most in your experiences with WICE?  

An added bonus for me, having lived in France for so long, is that I meet other English speakers who share the same culture and creative passions and I’ve made some good friends. If I lived in Paris, instead of in the Yvelines département, I’d be a permanent fixture at WICE, as the courses are so varied and always professional. When I read the new programs it’s like being in an old fashioned sweet shop, I want to try everything.     

8)  What are you looking forward to in terms of future WICE offerings?  

In May I’ll be taking the Exploring Paris through Photography with Meredith Mullins. I’ve participated in several already and it’s so much fun, except when the weather is awful, but that’s also a challenge. The feedback from Meredith and the groups has helped me to progress tremendously, both technically and creatively. I’d love to do some more art classes with Jan Olsson. One of the courses I took with her was a printing class in the summer at her studio in La Ruche, an amazing place, and it was a creative revelation.

Thanks Henrietta for sharing your WICE experiences with us!

Check out Henrietta's blog at