Man turns his photography into a second career
August 20, 2013 1:08PM
Updated: September 22, 2013 6:07AM
“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”
— Ansel Adams
Pat Kennedy lives in Lowell with his wife, Gloria. They’ve been married 49 years and have raised three sons.
Kennedy, 69, is a semi-retired photographer.
“I was born in Gary and graduated from Lew Wallace High School,” Kennedy began. “I was on the golf team.”
“I have a degree in geology from Indiana University Northwest. I started out as a geologist for (Northern Indiana Public Service Co.) and then switched to mechanical engineering after about 15 years.”
I didn’t know that about you.
“I also worked on high pressure steel transmission pipelines for NIPSCO that would feed natural gas to industrial customers as well as towns. And, I designed gas regulator stations that fed large industrial customers.”
When you were working as a geologist, where were you stationed?
“You won’t recognize the town, but it was called Royal Center.”
Actually, I have heard of Royal Center. In high school, we used to play sports against a school called Pioneer. I believe kids from Royal Center go to Pioneer. What does a geologist do for NIPSCO?
“Natural gas storage. They store a lot of natural gas underground. There are huge limestone and sandstone formations there.”
Your photography business?
“I picked up photography in 1980. Once I retired from NIPSCO in 1999, I started Pat Kennedy Photography. Lowell High School is my only client today — strictly sports.”
Technology has really changed in the last 20 years.
“Oh, yeah. We went from analog, which is film, to digital. That was a big change in the industry. It was a whole new learning curve. A lot more people got into photography because of digital; it’s a little easier to do.”
When you first started, did you have your own darkroom?
“Yes, I developed my own film — black-and-white.”
A famous photographer that you admire?
“Ansel Adams would be one of them. Adams invented the zone system for photography. It included every shade of black and white. There are eight zones in between.”
The most difficult sport to photograph?
“Swimming. It’s not that well-lit and the athletes are submerged most of the time. You can’t use flash.”
Do you enjoy watching professional sports?
“The Bears and Blackhawks — mostly the Hawks.”
Pat, could guys Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita compete with today’s NHL stars?
“Certainly. They were that good.”
A couple of your favorite Blackhawks today?
“Jonathan Toews and the rookie Brandon Saad who I believe will be a star. My youngest son played ice hockey for Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago. He also played college hockey out East.”
“My wife and I have lived in Lowell for 41 years and raised three sons in this community. We moved to Lowell because we felt it provided us with a quiet town to raise our family and a good school system for our sons to learn and grow. The two oldest boys graduated from Lowell High School. We have no regrets moving to Lowell.”
While covering high school sports, I’ve stood on the sidelines or behind the backstop next to Pat Kennedy many times. I’ve never heard him say a bad word about anyone and he’s one of the most pleasant guys you’d ever want to meet.