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Local Legend Mike Kenny

Nature photography guru, Mike Kenny, shares his perspective on Indiana as he sees it through his photography.

An award-winning photojournalist, Kenny also worked for the local newspaper, The Rochester Sentinel, for over twenty three years and is well known for his black and white film portrait series, “Portrait of a Community,” that features local characters collected throughout the years in Rochester.

Growing up looking through magazines like Life, Look, and National Geographic as a kid, he was inspired by famous photographers of those times like Ansel Adams, Dorthea Lange, and Alfred Eisenstaedt. In 1972, after getting his first 35mm camera and darkroom set-up, his true calling came to life and he has not stopped since.

Rochester native, Curt Burkhart, who later became a successful commercial photographer in Chicago, influenced Mike as well, in showing him nothing was impossible. Kenny was given some of Burkhart’s cameras and lenses and still has them to this day.

Kenny says he is far from the only photographic local legend of the area, but we think he is by far one of the most popular in recent generations for Rochester.

“This area has produced some very fine photographers – Don Brunn, Dick Bair, John Savage, etc.’ Kenny explained. “When I first started at the Sentinel, these guys would call me up with subject or location suggestions. I used to laughingly call them “my assignments”, but I always appreciated their input.”

Nature and environmental concerns have always been important to Kenny and he shows it through his perspective in his nature photography. A lifestyle full of bicycle rides, hiking through forests, sail boating, cross country skiing and more have influenced him; giving Kenny the inspiration of sharing his love of outdoors and vision with others.

“We only have one earth and I think we need to both celebrate it and protect it. Through my photos, I hope to do both.” -Mike Kenny

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