State Rep. Kenneth Hodges is not just a political figure; he's also a pastor and an experienced photographer.
Hodges, the leader of Tabernacle Baptist Church in downtown Beaufort, owns LyBensons Gallery and Studio at 211 Charles St.
Hodges said he started the business 35 years ago in Atlanta, where he had the opportunity to photograph some famous figures, including jazz trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie and entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.
Hodges' photos will be on display as part of the Guild of Galleries' Spring Art Walk from 5 to 7:30 p.m. March 17 in Beaufort.
As a photographer in Atlanta in the 1970s and '80s, Hodges said he did a lot of work for the area's colleges and universities. Those schools asked him to photograph important people who visited the city.
Hodges said one assignment led him to Coretta Scott King's home. He said he didn't get to meet Martin Luther King Jr. because King was already deceased, but he was honored to meet King's family.
"It was a unique experience," Hodges said. "When I went to Mrs. King's home for an assignment, she gave me an obituary from Dr. King's funeral. So that's something that I treasure."
Hodges said he also has met Maya Angelou on a number of occasions.
"One of my photographs from the Lowcountry -- I presented it to Maya Angelou on one of her visits," he said. "And someone who visited her home saw a copy of it in my gallery and said, 'I've seen that somewhere.' Then they recollected that they saw it on the wall of Maya Angelou's home."
Other notable figures Hodges met in his photography career include civil rights activist Rosa Parks and Dr. Benjamin Mays, former president of Morehouse College and mentor to Dr. King.
Hodges opened LyBensons Photo Services in Atlanta in 1977, and it evolved into the gallery when he moved to South Carolina. Hodges said he wanted a business name he could take pride in. So he decided to combine his parents' names: the "Ly" in "LyBensons" represents his mother, Lydia, and the "Ben" stands for his father's name, Benjamin.
His exhibit for the art walk also will feature historic posters by Jonathan Green, work by local artists and authentic African art.