We had the good fortune of connecting with Reed J Kenney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Reed J, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Originally, I had wanted to go to school for design. While in school, and working different coffee jobs, I realized I had some kind of affinity or eye for making photos in a way that felt pretty natural, so I started to pursue this on the side. Eventually I met an amazing and talented photographer who sort of took me under his wing, and I just fell into it hard from there. While I’ve always done art and artistic related things growing up, I certainly never expected to find a career in an area like photography. If it weren’t for who I consider to be my original mentor in a lot of ways, I likely never would have been able to develop in this professionally.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think if there’s anything that sets me apart it’s just the way I might see things. Every photographer has something inherently unique to offer, and there are a lot that really lean into technique as well. I don’t think any two photographers will see their shots exactly the same way, and realistically thats the value that I believe sets all of us apart. I think I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to stay pretty consistent, which also might as well be the answer for how I got to where I am currently. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily easy, but I also had a ton of support that made it possible for me to navigate a lot of the bigger challenges – and for that I’m extremely lucky. In terms of things I might want others to know about myself, I really hope it comes down to anyone thinking that I’ve made nice images along the way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love this city so much, and we’re fortunate to have so much great stuff happening across it. In terms of where I’d take someone, I’ll just choose my favorite places I like to go anyway. If this guest was visiting and it happened to be after 4pm, the first place we are going is Jettison in west Dallas, which is definitely my favorite bar. Then of course down the road is Wayward coffee, for my favorite new neighborhood shop. My favorite restaurant, which is one that I still can’t believe we have here, is the much needed Spanish restaurant Enrique Tomas, on the other side of town. And my last real recommendation is Village Bakery’s Greenville Ave Boulangerie, Dallas’ premiere French bakery. So if a friend were in town for any amount of time, looks like we would mostly spend it eating.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This could be a really long list. I definitely have to mention who I consider to be my mentor and reason for being a photographer in the first place, Hoyoung Lee. None of this would be possible without the years of knowledge and experience that he invested in me. Hoyoung is the kind of photographer that you could learn from for a lifetime, so I consider myself extremely lucky to have spent the time with him that I have.
Images by me (my work for the last portion)