Jeff Kennel

Jeff Kennel, Videographer, Marketing and Communications

What department do you work for, what do you do, and how long have you worked for HSU?

I work for Marketing and Communications. It says I am a “videographer” on my business card, but I’m also a creative producer, colorist, editor and grip. Basically a one-person video production team. I’ve been here since May 2014.

Where did you work before coming to HSU?

I was the Photographer/Filmmaker and Multimedia Specialist at University of Portland for 4 years. I also taught as an adjunct at UP and worked freelance as well. Before that I was a freelance photographer/multimedia producer for 7 years or so based out of a few countries in Asia and South America (see www.jeffkennelphotography.org to see my work). And before that I was an teacher of English as a foreign language in Cabo Verde, Brazil, China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and once on a 4 month round-the-world journey by ship.

What brought you to Humboldt?

Mia, my wife, really wanted to go to school here and we were both looking for something different after being in Portland for 4 years. When a job opened up in Marketing, I was fortunate to get it and we were able to make the move.

Tell us about your family…

I’ve been married to Mia for about 4 years. We dated in Jr. High for about a week and then lost touch for 20 years. She’s adventurous, down-to-earth, athletic and shares my love for foreign cultures. She’s a triple threat: funny, beautiful and smart. She’s going back to school to get an Anthropology degree here at HSU and loving it.

My parents are semi-retired nomads. They work half the year at national parks and travel the other half. I also have an older brother that works as the director of a paramedic program at OHSU in Portland, Ore.

What are you favorite TV shows?

I just finished watching “The Wire”, which I found painfully fascinating. I love Homeland, The Honourable Woman, The Americans, and Game of Thrones.

What is your favorite music/song?

Can’t say I have one. On my Spotify playlist I’m listening to Jose Gonzales, Bon Iver, Lorde, Bruno Mars, Ben Howard, and I’ll even admit, a couple songs from Miley Cyrus when needed.

What is your favorite food/local restaurant?

Pizza at home with my wife. Mia has a severe allergy to gluten so we are very careful where we eat. Best place we’ve been around here has been Cafe Nooner. Love their pulled pork sandwich.

What kinds of books do you like? Do you have a favorite author?

I love Sci-fi and a mix of other genres. I love Heinlein, Ursula K. LeGuin, Murakami, Tom Robbins, Vonnegut, John Irving, Philip K. Dick, Burroughs.

What is your favorite place in Humboldt County?

We’ve love exploring the beaches, rivers and Redwoods. Can’t say we favor just one yet. Still exploring.

If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?

I really don’t like “vacations”. I have to be working on something, so Mia and I usually work on some sort of photo or video project somewhere. We photographed Jane Goodall on a job last year and would love to visit the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of the Congo and make more conservation focussed media. One trip I’ve always wanted to take, having been an exchange student in Alta Gracia, Argenting (Che Guevarra’s hometown), is to cycle Che’s motorcycle road trip around S. America and make a photo book out of it. 

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies, if I have any, are the similar to my profession: Documentary photography/filmmaking.

Are you involved in any community groups/service projects?

Mia and I foster dogs through Redwood Pals Rescue. In Portland I just finished a project with teacherten.org, a resource for LGBTQQ educators and proudground.org, a non-profit helping low-income people afford homes.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

Mia, Leo (our dog) and I explore the beaches, forests and rivers. We also enjoy going for long walks exploring neighborhoods and watching movies.

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?

I was in the Peace Corps in West Africa, I speak 4 languages proficiently and a few others semi-well. I lived abroad for over 12 years in various countries in Africa, Asia and South America, moving back to the U.S. 4 years ago...and I’m still adjusting to the culture shock. I feel more at ease in places like China, Japan and the developing world than I do in the U.S. I have no hometown. I grew up moving all around the U.S., from Kansas to Orange County to Mississippi to Chicago and on and on. Lastly, I was once a very bad professional actor in Tokyo, at the height of that short career I played a Nazi soldier in love with a woman from the French resistance and had to fake dance the Waltz in one scene and in another, kick in a door, shoot a machine gun and scream, as per the director, “anything that sounds German”.