Kenneth Francis Murphy lives in his life long home town of Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi with his wife of 41 years, Tina. He has three children, Dylan (34), Nicolette (30) and Christina (29) and three grandchildren by Nicolette, Zayne (10), Jeremy II (9) and Penny (7).
He was born on February 10, 1954 to Helen Dedeaux Murphy Decell and SFC Dan Beverly Murphy (both now deceased) in Frankfurt, Germany.
Ken discovered photography, quite literally, by an accident.
On May 10, 1976, while following in his Father's footsteps, he was a U.S. Army Sargent (E-5) Tank Commander stationed in Mannheim, Germany as a member of the 1/72nd Armor Division.
Actually, he had been a Tank Commander since the ripe old age of 17 years old, having dropped out of high school early to join the Army, on March 8, 1971, 26 days after his 17th birthday.
One year later, as his friends were graduating from high school, Ken was serving as a tank commander stationed in Korea near the DMZ.
During the last 10 minutes of a two week long war game exercise in Germany in 1976, as Ken says,"fate showed up". He almost lost his entire right hand to a Hoffman Device, which is a training device that attaches to the top of the main gun of a M60A1 Battle Tank that simulates the 105mm Main Gun firing. He was loading it when it discharged prematurely.
When the Doc woke him after after surgery, in a very low and somber voice, he said "Sargent Murphy", I am sorry, but you lost your right index finger." Ken said, in a surprised and happy voice, "I only lost one finger? Good job Doc! I, thought my whole hand was gone." See Ken's logo.
Since no soldier can serve in a combat arm without a trigger finger, he was reassigned to a brand new hobby shop at Fort Leonhard Wood, MO.
Originally, he was assigned to the Wood Section, where he assumed he was destined to lose more fingers. When the guy in the Photography section got fired for stealing cameras Ken was ordered to take over the Photography Section until a replacement could be found. It wasn't long before a nice older lady, a soldiers wife, started showing Ken how to develop film and make black and white prints. He fell in love with photography and is now fond of saying, "I traded my trigger finger for a camera and it was a good trade".
After holding the job for about six (6) months, Ken entered and placed 3rd in an Army wide photography contest winning a $75 Savings Bond with a color landscape photograph of a "Corn Shed" in the fog on the property where he was living in Dixon, MO.
Ken says he thought to himself, "Damn, Self?! You can make money taking pictures?" After that he was hooked for life. He says he had an epiphany that it "was my life's calling".
In 1986, ten years to the month after the accident, Ken graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York with a BFA Degree in Narrative, Documentary and Editorial Photography on a Disabled Veteran Vocational Rehabilitation program. He has been a professional photographer ever since.
After a short stint of assisting and working for professional photographers in New Orleans, he returned home to Bay Saint Louis and began working for Neil White at the original Coast Magazine as their Photography Editor. Many of the photographs in his first book "My South Coast Home" are from his Coast Magazine days.
Ken's life was turned upside down by Hurricane Katrina, having lost everything. Then it took 12 years to win a court battle over land the family owned that the State of Mississippi took illegally.
Now, 42 years after his life changed in a flash, he has published four (4) award winning photographic coffee table books, showcasing Mississippi in it's best light possible and one (1) soon to be released book with friend and book designer Rick Dobbs "Local Spirit: Neighborhood Bars of Orleans Parish".
Ken's books have been given to many dignitaries over the years by the last two Mississippi governors. Most recently, Governor Bryant presented a collection of three of Ken's books to the Prime Minister of India.