Art Through the Aperture
Life has come into focus for photographer Kevin Bennett
There’s the adage that everything in life happens for a reason. At times that can be hard to accept—other times it offers just the right perspective. Looking back, it’s clear to photographer Kevin Bennett how every decision, every circumstance led him to his calling.
As a student at Fordham University, Bennett was uncertain of his future career path. On a whim, he purchased an old Pentax K1000 film camera and started shooting scenes around New York City. A passion was ignited, and he went on to study visual arts. After graduating from Fordham in 2005, Bennett, a Cape Cod native, followed his older sister out to San Diego. “But I actually didn’t get into any visual arts career,” he says. “I needed a job, and I had experience working with children, so I started working at a private school out there.”
Photography remained a hobby—but only that. Flash forward to 2011, and Bennett’s father introduced him to an acquaintance, Brian Hart, who owned a picture framing business in Denver. Bennett spent the following summer in Denver working for Hart, not only learning how to custom frame, but also realizing you could make a living both framing and selling your artwork. In 2014 Bennett, now living on the Cape, began taking part in the HyArts Artists Shanties program, selling his Cape and Islands landscape and seascape photography for the first time.
“I was learning what my niche was, and what images people were attracted to,” he says. “With my photography, I really like to focus on angles, texture, line, composition, color—taking the ordinary landscape that someone sees through their own eyes and turning it into an attractive, intriguing piece of art.” His best-selling image was and continues to be of Brant Point Light—with the red, weathered walkway in the foreground leading the eye to the lighthouse in the distance.
By 2017, Bennett was working part-time as an art teacher at the Barnstable Grade 4/5 School. When a full-time position opened up, Bennett applied, but didn’t get the job. “It was actually a blessing that I didn’t get the teaching job,” he admits. “That was my motivation to finally open a gallery.”
Bennett’s gallery, located on Main Street, Hyannis, is where he sells his photography prints and notecards, and runs a custom framing business in the back, framing both his photographs and others’ artwork. He loves exploring the artistry in both framing and photography, and at the end of the day, he says what’s most rewarding is sharing his creative vision with others. “For example, the first image I ever sold was of this rusted doorknob that I came across when I was hiking on Sandy Neck,” he recalls. “When a woman from Manhattan came into my shanty and said, ‘I love that doorknob! Can I buy that blown up?’ it was a nice feeling—that something so trivial could be turned into such an interesting piece of art that sparks different feelings in people.”