Photographer’s ministry shows off beauty of Vicksburg
Published 1:17 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016
Marty Kittrell doesn’t live near the Grand Canyon or the Grand Tetons, places renown for their beauty. He lives here in Vicksburg, and uses his photography ministry to share the beauty he sees in his home.
He said all the photos he showed to those in attendance at the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Vicksburg Convention Center Wednesday were taken within 50 miles of Vicksburg.
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“I love Vicksburg. I love the character,” he said. “It’s not a cookie cutter town. It’s got heritage, it’s got culture, and it is just a wonderful place to live. I love how every street is different here. There’s so much around us with nature and the river.”
Kittrell’s photography ministry, How Great Thou Art, began about three years ago, he said, stemming from work he did for The Vicksburg Post. He said he views his work as a form of community outreach, sharing Vicksburg, Warren County and the Delta’s beauty with others.
“The Lord really spoke to me and said, ‘I don’t want you to keep those photos to yourself. I want you to share them,’” he said.
His landscape photos include sunrises and sunsets, where “the Lord is just chunking colors at the horizon,” fog and other natural elements, including photos of the bridges spanning the Mississippi River and photos of the 2011 flooding.
“That’s what I love about the river,” he said. “It’s so alive; it’s always changing.”
Kittrell also uses his photography skills to document buildings that are dilapidated and in danger of disappearing. He said he considers one of the greatest parts of his ministry to be photographing old churches in the region.
“It’s sad for me, but it’s also an honor for me,” he said, noting he considers a church in Rolling Fork that collapsed three weeks after he photographed it to be his favorite.
The church featured an old piano he said he could “just think of all the people who came to Christ, (who) got married, (who) got buried” to its music.
Having never taken a professional lesson, Kittrell’s photos reach an estimated 40,000 people each week via his How Great Thou Art Facebook page.
Purchases made from his website, martykittrell.com, go toward “much-needed camera equipment,” according to the site.
“If you want to find the ugliness of Vicksburg you can, but if you want to find the beauty, you can find that too,” he said.
Kitrell’s photos have been used by promotional material for the chamber of commerce and are also featured every other Sunday in The Vicksburg Post.