Murphy presents a dazzling array

Published 10:45 pm Saturday, March 17, 2007

When words like ‘breathtaking’ and ‘stunning’ just don’t come close to describing a book, I know I’ve found a treasure.

Murphy’s invitation, “Get up, get out and go explore our backyard,” is such sound advice for any Mississippian. If you can’t do that for whatever reason, then you must buy one or both of his books.

“My South Coast Home” is a remarkable collection of Mississippi coastal locations from dawn to midnight, from spring to Christmas. It is worth every penny. The photo above is such a small bite of this most satisfying fare.

“Mississippi” is Part I, Part II is still in the planning stages. You can stroll the Natchez Trace, climb Red Bluff, explore Pascagoula River Swamp, fish with Murphy’s nephew, and tube down the Bogue Chitto River. I’ve been on the best vacation and haven’t left my chair. The best part is that I can keep going back.

Murphy’s goal is to entertain and enlighten. This he has done. The photos are of places in Mississippi that are on the beaten path, the better known places, and they are beautifully presented.

“It’s a hard way to make a living,” Murphey said when we chatted. “Have I ever questioned my choice of living? Yeah. But there is nothing else I’d rather do. Sometimes I beleive I have a mission, regardless of what I’ve wanted to do. This is something I’ve had to do.”

Volume II is in the planning stages and is scheduled to be published within the next five years. “It will fill in the gaps,” he said. “There are lots of places that I didn’t get to photograph yet, like Greenville and parts of Vickburg. I want to visit those places that people don’t normally go and capture an overall picture. I want to capture the essenceof each place.”

He said he had thought about hiring another photographer, “but, I want to keep it singular,” he said.

After studying the photographs, you can tell that Murphy has a gift. He calls it “pre-visualizing”. I call it perfectionism. He knows the effect he wants and won’t compromise. That is what makes these books so worthy.

“Sometimes I’ll keep going back to a place five or six times, or wait around until the light is just right.” Waiting until that perfect moment and then not missing the precise moment for that perfect picture is definitely a gift. Some would call that patience.

“The Army ruined me,” he laughed. Murphy got the photograpy bug while in the military. “I’m the orginal free spirit and not a regualar nine to five kind of guy. I just can’t bring myself to do it any other way,” he said when asked if he’d ever considered teaching. “If you teach, you have to be upa and on time.”

Murphy resides in Bay St. Louis with his wife and children. He received the Andy Warhol Foundation Visual Arts grant and is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology.

You can purchase his books at our local book store, Bell, Book and Candle, or at other independent book stores. You can contact him at kenmurphysouth@aol.com. His prints are for sale, as well.