Ken Jenkins to speak on photography’s ‘great satisfaction’

Aug. 30, 2013 @ 12:04 PM

According to Ken Jenkins, photographers ought to look beyond winning awards and landing their work in magazines.

“I want them,” the Gatlinburg photographer said, “to look at a photo and say, ‘What will it make someone feel?’”

That’s what Jenkins will talk about Saturday, Aug. 31, at the King Family Library in Sevierville, where he is giving a talk called “Your Photograph: More Than You See.” Sponsored by the LeConte Photographic Society, the 10 a.m. presentation is free.

It is an inspirational program, Jenkins said. “They wanted me to come down and do something different,” he added, laughing. “This is a total departure for me. I hope it will really cause people to think.”

Don’t expect esoteric camera jargon. “The general public is invited,” Jenkins said. “It’s for people who aren’t technical photographers. They’re not looking at f-stops and shutter speeds.”

Indeed, Jenkins noted, thanks to ubiquitous smartphones, “Everybody has a camera anymore.”

Jenkins, 62, got his first camera at age 12. He has been a professional photographer for decades. The Newport native conceived the long-running Pigeon Forge festival Wilderness Wildlife Week, and he operates Beneath the Smoke, the Gatlinburg gallery. He has led photography tours in the Rockies, Alaska, South America.

He knows the power of photos from his work for clients including Hallmark, Successories and the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.

Photographs can “help people on their journey through life, maybe a relative who needs a boost, or someone who’s climbing the corporate ladder,” Jenkins said. “Once you click the shutter, it’s not about us, the photographers.”

That lesson has been brought home to him at his Gatlinburg business. “At the gallery, people don’t come in to get enamored with Ken Jenkins,” he said. “They say (of photos), ‘That’s pleasing’ or ‘That’s relaxing.’ That’s the great satisfaction of photography, is knowing someone will enjoy it.”

Jenkins’ program on Saturday will be “other-oriented,” he said.

“I’ve talked to countless photographers,” he said. “I understand there’s a lot of different motivations in taking a photograph. Maybe it’s personal satisfaction, or the desire to get better at a hobby or a trade.”

Jenkins encourages them to consider another motivation: “I want to get people to realize that there’s an opportunity to share with someone in a positive way.”

Twitter: @kennethburns