Chris Jenkins: From videography to photography

Monica Kizer


 Photo by Monica Kizer

Photo by Monica Kizer

Chris Jenkins is the official MUW photographer and video producer with more than 20 years of experience taking photos and producing videos. This month Jenkins will be sharing some of the many moments he has captured across The W campus in an exhibition titled, “Chris Jenkins: Views of The W.” Jenkins shared how he got his start at The W and his advice for future photographers. 

Q: What is your role here at the W?

A: “My role here at The W is photographer and video producer, and that’s probably 60 percent photography and 40 percent video. So basically, all the images you see at the university – whether it’s photos or videos – I’m responsible for taking them.”

Q: How long have you been working at the university?

A: “I’ve been working here for 24 years.”

Q: Why did you decide to come work at the W?

A: “I was doing a radio shift here as a volunteer, and I was just finishing up my electronics degree at East Mississippi Community College. Right about the time I was getting ready to graduate, the station engineer at The W left, so that job was opened. I applied for it, and I got it.” 

Q: What have you gained from your photography career?

A: “When you’re a photographer, it makes you look at the world differently. Like, I’m constantly seeing a photo everywhere I look. I think in terms of what will make a good photo – even when I’m just walking down the street. In my mind, I see photos everywhere, and that’s pretty cool to me.”

Q: How can you tell the difference between a good picture and a bad picture? 

A: “Composition, focus and color are the three things, in my opinion, that make either a good or bad photo. Composition being the most important.”

Q: What was your first camera that you purchased? 

A: “It was a Nikon N90s. Let me think about that for a minute, but it was a film camera, and it was the first camera I had here.”

Q: What was the first photo you took?

A: “Probably something from the Eudora Welty Writer’s Symposium, and that would have been in 1998 when I first started doing photography. This was my first assignment.”

Q: What can you tell students who are interested in a photography career? 

A: “Take lots and lots of photos. When I started, it was still film-based, so every time you clicked the shutter, it cost you money. Everything’s digital now. You can take 10,000 photos in a day, and it won’t cost you any money. So just get out there and shoot, shoot, shoot. Get your friends and family members to volunteer for you, to pose, to work on your posing people and your photography style, but just shoot, shoot, shoot. Get out there and just practice.” 

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years as a photographer?

A: “Hopefully, I will still be here, because I love my job so much and I love The W so much. I do a lot of freelance work, so I hope that that business has grown by that point. I just hope to become a better photographer. I try to get better – a little bit better every day.”