Retired state photographer describes life through his lenses

Anne Holt's Tennessee

Jed Dekalb has seen a lot of life looking through the lens of a camera. 

“When I started school at The University of Tennessee, I borrowed my Dad’s camera that he only pulled out twice a year, Easter and Christmas, and I started going to some concerts and shooting some pictures,”
said Jed. 

He also partnered with a local record store. 

“I would give them 11X14’s of the acts that just came thru Knoxville and they would trade me albums.” 

He earned backstage passes by helping roadies unload equipment. Behind the scenes, Jed captured dynamic images of rockstars Edgar Winter and David Bowie. 

“The first picture I ever sold to a National outlet was this picture of David Bowie around 1976…the bumper sticker photo. People Magazine and High Times ran it.” 

Jed’s pictures caught the eye of Blues rock band ZZ Top. 

“They said they had a live album coming out and would I be interested in shooting pictures. I’m a college kid, sure.” 

Jed’s photo graced the cover of the band’s fourth album, Fandango. He also covered Vols sports for the campus newspaper and discovered the hazard of being too close to the action. 

“I got hit by Stanley Morgan on the sidelines at a football game. I’m shooting, boy he’s getting bigger and bigger and woah! You learn from things like that.” 

Graduation brought the search for a “real job’ and offer to work for the new State of Tennessee Photography Divison. 

“We would go out for about a week every fall and scour the state and get pretty pictures. We did a lot of festivals in different communities in the springtime.” 

But tourism pictures gave way to capturing people and personalities. 

“I have loved all my Governors and have tried to make them look as gubernatorial as I have in my mind that they should be.” 

In the next Anne Holt’s Tennessee, a look behind the camera with Jed and five of Tennessee’s Governors. 

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