Meet a Deac – Ken Bennett

Several years ago, we had a Daily Deac semi-regular feature called “Meet a Deac.” The idea was to introduce you to some of the people on campus who might interact with your students, or have some behind-the-scenes impact on their lives (or yours). We have so many people here who do great work inside and outside the classroom, but their names, faces, and the things they do might not be obvious to folks who don’t live or work here.

We’re resurrecting Meet a Deac and will feature members of the campus community throughout the spring.  It seems entirely fitting to start with the person who might have been one of your first connections to WFU – Ken Bennett, our Director of Photography.  Ken’s work is seen all over the website, as well as the gorgeous admissions materials that might have caught your eye during the college search process.

I’ve worked with Ken since 1999. He’s a great guy, winner of the 2015 Employee of the Year (and deservedly so).  “As the award nomination reads, ‘No one assigns Ken Bennett to take photos at sunrise because that’s when the light is best in Reynolda Gardens, to shoot a Sunday afternoon field hockey game ‘just because,’ or to climb to the top of Wait Chapel to get aerial views of Commencement. He does these things out of profound initiative and unwavering determination. And he rocks it every time.'”

20121002bennett0001So Meet a Deac – Ken Bennett.

What is your official job title?
Director of Photography.

How long have you worked at Wake Forest?
Nineteen years.

In laymen’s terms, what do you do at WFU?
I make photos that illustrate Wake Forest stories for various University publications, from the home page of the web site, to the alumni magazine, admissions publications, and various capital campaign pieces. I shoot news stories, cover events, and make photos of our beautiful campus and the people who study and work here. Don’t tell anybody, but it’s the best job on campus.

How would you characterize Wake Forest students?  What are some common attributes they have?
Well, they keep getting younger, for one thing. But Wake Forest students amaze me with their boundless energy. They all seem to be taking eighteen hours while starting non-profits and playing in the orchestra.

What do you like best about working at Wake Forest?
The people. It’s a great community, and I learn new things all the time.

What advice do you have for students (or parents)?
The guy who taught me how to be a photojournalist used to say, “Just shoot what’s in front of you.” I guess it’s the photographer’s version of “wash your bowl.” Very Zen, but it’s a good approach to life.

Ready for our bonus questions?

Book you’re reading now: The Road to Seeing, by Dan Winters. It’s sort of a photography memoir by an immensely talented portrait artist.

guy-clark-2009What music are you listening to these days: Lots of Guy Clark. Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, other Americana types.

casablanca marseillaiseFavorite movie: Casablanca, though The Princess Bride comes in a close second. [Editor’s note: Good call, Ken.  The Marseillaise scene is one of my favorites of all time.]

Website(s) you frequent: Several photography blogs. I like Mike Johnston at The Online Photographer; he’s a thoughtful writer on many photo issues.

Guilty pleasure: Smoky single malt whiskys from the islands on the west coast of Scotland.

Tell me something most people don’t know about you: I spend every spare minute playing bluegrass and old time music with my friends. It goes well with the whisky.


— by Betsy Chapman

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