My South Coast Home Revisited

Photographer Ken Murphy Releases New Book Recapturing the Gulf Coast

It’s been more than 20 years since the release of the award-winning book My South Coast Home and now photographer Ken Murphy has given the world a chance to revisit the Gulf Coast through his breathtakingly fresh photos with the newly released My South Coast Home Revisited.

  “It’s all about the essence of the Coast,” Murphy said of the 168 pages with shots of coastal nature, significant events, and a well-known person or two. This time around, he had a unique way of taking some of the photographs. 

  “I have literally taken off into drone photography,” said the lifelong resident of Bay St. Louis with a chuckle. “I have been able to incorporate many of the stunning shots into this book. The drone has given me the ability to capture views I have never seen before. Not too many years ago, views of this kind were impossible to capture. Not even from a helicopter.”

  The book’s forward was written by Murphy’s longtime friend David Elliott of WLOX. He describes Murphy as a modern-day Pierre Le Moyne in awe of his surroundings and curious about what might be around the next corner. He praises the way the photographer celebrates the coastal maritime history.

  “On Murphy’s resume, it says, ‘Studied Narrative, Documentary and Editorial Photography.’ Ken gives those academic terms a human touch,” Elliott wrote.

  The glossy photos reach from Bayou Caddy to Pascagoula and south to the Barrier Islands. There are only a couple of shots north of Interstate 10, including Sandhill Cranes at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier and the Jourdan River in Kiln.

  Murphy said he could never pick a favorite photo in the new book or even a favorite coastal spot to shoot, but said, “I got lucky, really lucky with the birds. You’ve just gotta be there and be ready. That one Great Egret flying with the catfish in his mouth, that was an incredible shot.”

  There are also passages of then and now photos with select images from the original pre-Hurricane Katrina book juxtaposed with present-day photos of the same subjects. The special section includes a shot of the Round Island Lighthouse in 1996 when it was situated on the small uninhabited island sharing its name about four miles south of Pascagoula. 

  The lighthouse was toppled by Hurricane Georges in 1998 and the restoration effort was then destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Because of its precarious location, the lighthouse was rebuilt from some of the original materials at the eastern base of the Pascagoula River High Rise Bridge on U.S. 90. Murphy photographed the rebuilt and relocated lighthouse again in 2023 and placed the photos side by side in the new book. 

  The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi has also changed a lot since its 1997 photo, and you’ll see previous casinos that have since been replaced by others in the same location. 

  Lastly, you’ll find a fun photo montage composed of Murphy’s friends and family. 

  Rick Dobbs is a contributor to the book as well as Murphy’s business partner at Murphy Dobbs Publishing. The long-time friends have collaborated on several projects including Local Spirit: Neighborhood Bars of Orleans Parish. The 198-page book features 102 bars and took about three years to photograph.

  “It’s all about the local spots,” Dobbs said. “Not tourist spots so we didn’t focus on the French Quarter. Each little neighborhood in the Orleans parish has its own kind of personality and character, therefore each local watering hole has its own kind of personality and character. That was our focus.”

  And they’re already talking about their next projects which could include one with a focus on West Texas and another set in Nashville. 

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