We had the good fortune of connecting with Kenneth Hines, Jr. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kenneth, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
Simply enjoying life, whether that’s doing photography or traveling and experiencing new things that simply captivate me. In 2015 I had made a life decision to live a more positive life, not becoming stressed by things, allowing things or people to change my mood and learn to really let things go and continue moving forward. This pandemic has really shown people how quickly things can change in life and you just have to learn to get through challenging times. You’re not going to always have everything perfect and how you decide to face those challenges will determine how life continues on.
Photography and traveling are the places I’m at peace in. By being a multi-discipline photographer I’m never consumed by one genre of photography, where I never get to a point of feeling overwhelmed and wanting to not do it anymore. Being able to travel often from my work as a photographer allows me to visit some amazing places around the world. If I’m ever bored of being home I can pick up and go somewhere else and have a change of scenery, keeping myself in a creative nature.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m where I am today because I never gave up on myself. Many people become discouraged by things others may say to them, but I’ve never allowed the negativity of others to influence me in that way. Anything negative I’ve utilized as positive energy. It’s a driving force for people to say things that are negative, as it only fuels me to go harder and prove that I can do something! I always tell people that validation is only reserved for parking. You don’t need validation from individuals to determine the outcome of your own life!
Getting where I am was not easy. I had never forgotten the things people had said or done to me when I first started. A seasoned photographer shared with me in 2009 that I was not a great photographer and wouldn’t make it, because my images lacked creativity. That angered me, but I am not someone who shows emotion and chooses to keep it bottled inside. The positive is that I express my emotion through my art and oddly enough, it is when I am vexed that my imagery is at its peak! I felt the only way something would not be possible is if I never attempted in the first place. If I failed I failed, but at least I could say I attempted. Many people felt I was beneath them and wasn’t a serious professional photographer in the making, because I chose to use Sony cameras and not the industry standard at that time, Canon and Nikon. I did not obtain many jobs because of this, but it didn’t rattle me. I was not going to change what I was comfortable with and was going to utilize what I had.
Who knew that a decade later, Sony would become the number one camera manufacturer over those companies, with numerous photographers switching to Sony! I suppose I saw the future before others. Being a young black photographer in this industry has had its fair share of hindrances, to where during my time with my agency, it was seen to not have images of myself displayed online. It was a great move because once people signed the contracts and I showed up there was nothing they could do. I’d commence in the job I was hired to do and that was it. I simply never saw anything in my career as unattainable. It’s by God’s grace that I can say I have worked and do work for some of the largest names in my industry. I broke many barriers that most people saw as not being possible for me and that brings a lot of joy to me. I am profoundly grateful for God’s blessings in that and simply never giving up on myself!
I think I’d want people to know and remember me for my love for art, creating and for encouraging others to believe in themselves, as I’m a living testament to what can happen when you live the life that you’re passionate about.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In a week that’s a lot of time for me to show someone around! I would start a bit out of the city and possibly show them Cloudland Canyon State Park in Northern Georgia. Once back in the city I’d have to take them by the Georgia Aquarium (the new shark exhibit is quite amazing), the World of Coca-Cola, The Sun Dial Restaurant for the views (and dinner), Ponce City Market (the Skyline Park is a fun spot and there’s some good eating spots here), take some iconic skyline images on the Jackson Street Bridge and an ATLANTA photo in front of Philips Arena (I simply can’t call this place by it’s new name, still), Peachtree Center (the renovation of this is beautiful I might add).
I feel there’s so much around that I could keep adding so much, but I think for a week this is a good start to really see “ATLANTA”!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many people who’ve supported me through the years, but the one person I always have to mention is my Advanced Economics teacher from Columbia High School, Pat Roberts. She was the one who encouraged me to start my business in 2008, at a time I didn’t even think of doing photography as a career. She saw something in me that I didn’t even notice was there. She helped in doing everything for me to start my company, which I didn’t think I was going to really do. I didn’t want to let her down after all of the work she did, but I didn’t want to let myself down either. Never in a million years would I ever expect being where I am today, having amazing corporate partners like ZEISS Camera Lenses, Sony, Google and Adobe supporting me and also being the face of the Adobe Lightroom 2021 photo editing application, for this years splash screen cover. All of this wouldn’t have been possible if she didn’t do that for me.