Don Henderson

Don Henderson ::

Don Henderson was born in the Lawrenceville, but grew up in Harmar Township and now lives in New Kensington. As a child, he attended the Tam O’Shanter art classes at the Carnegie as well as the AM Pallet painting classes.He is a graduate of the the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Class of ’77, where he studied graphic design and illustration. He has worked over 40 years as a graphic designer and illustrator, 35 of which were spent working in Downtown Pittsburgh for several design studios.

Don’s interest in photography came while at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. As part of the graphic design program, he took a black and white photography class and fell in love with it. He has been an active shooter ever since. When he started the course, he didn’t even own a camera and borrowed one of his uncle’s Pentax Spotmatics. He used that camera until he was able to buy a used Spotmatic SPII which he still has today. In the 1980’s, He started playing around with digital cameras and early on started shooting with Fujifilm Bridge Cameras and Pentax digital cameras. He shoots with all sorts of vintage M42 and K Mount lenses on his Pentax DSLRs, and recently bought a used Fujifilm X-T1 that has become his favorite digital camera. He has several other fixed lens Fuji X camera that he uses too. For film, he’s been shooting with both a Mamiya C22 and C220 TLR medium format cameras. He occasionally shoots 35mm with a Pentax Spotmatic SPIIa and a Nikon D80.

In 2011, Don, his son Shane, along with Gary Sprague, Bill Hall and Jim Thomas, started the New Kensington Camera Club with the intention of getting a Pennsylvania Historic Marker for New Kensington photographer Eddie Adams, who died in 2004 from ALS. In 1968,  Eddie Adams, while working for Associate Press, took a photo during the Vietnam War that won a Pulitzer Prize. The camera club, working with the Heritage Museum in Tarentum, PA, raised all the money for the marker with their photography. In 2016, the marker was dedicated at the corner of 9th Street & 4th Avenue in New Kensington. The event was attended by hundreds of people and photographers including Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, John Filo and Martha Rial.

Then in 2013, Don and his son, started their own graphic design business in New Kensington, Henderson Graphic Design & Illustration, where they specialize in logo design, branding and illustration.   

When Don took this photo, his son had a booth at the Handmade Arcade at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. They had parked at the Smithfield-Liberty parking garage, and he snapped this photo and several others while walking over to the Convention Center. While he doesn’t miss working Downtown, he does miss being Downtown. So when he is Downtown, he tries to take advantage of the time there. He’s always liked the unique triangular architecture of the building and several others that dot Liberty Avenue.

“This is a big thrill for me. Several members of the New Kensington Camera Club have participated in previous Captured Pittsburgh exhibits, so it’s a real honor to join the ranks of this elite group, plus I really admire what Captured Pittsburgh is doing and I very humbled to have been selected to be a part of this.”

Don has been inspired by a lot of photographers in his life, first and foremost his mom who always had a medium format TLR camera when he was growing up, and his uncle Hink Henderson for lending him one of his Pentax Spotmatics when he was in art school and for introducing him to world of Pentax cameras and Takumar prime lenses. He’d also like to thank Mr. Arnold at the Art Institute for the inspiration. He’s sure that he has passed on to the big darkroom in the sky by now, but his patience with a bunch green students was amazing.

Most importantly, he wants to thank his wife Pam and his kids, Shane and Brigid for tolerating his madness. His wife always says he’s in Camera Land. He also wants to thank the members of the New Kensington Camera Club for believing in his vision for the club and for the constant source of inspiration. Lastly, he wants to thank Alyssa Adams of the Eddie Adams Workshop for her constant support of the New Kensington Camera Club.