Photographer Jack Louden is inspired by his surroundings. CONTRIBUTED

Jack Louden, a little known treasure here in the Florida Keys, brings to mind the term Renaissance man. He hails from both Darby, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware. His formal education is in choral studies but he is also a naturally gifted lyricist and performer. Louden earned his master’s degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta. After teaching in Georgia for a large part of his career, he found his way to the Florida Keys. He and his wife Lynne made a home for themselves on Big Pine Key where the surrounding scenery and wildlife inspire them both as artists. He is a proud father of four and when asked what he enjoys most about photography he shared: “I love being out there in the wild just experiencing nature.”

Louden, the quintessential lover of life, brings his unique spirit to each of the many disciplines and projects he pursues. I am proud to have had the pleasure of working with him for the past three years at Stanley Switlik School in Marathon. Louden built a wonderful music program at Switlik teaching youngsters to sing songs, play countless instruments, and even experience drama while they learned performing arts skills. This year he retired from teaching, truly a loss for us, but those who know Louden are well aware he will not be slowing down. He still plans to tutor in music when needed. He also continues his work as a professional pianist, sharing his faith and his talents with two of our local Catholic churches, something he has done for the past several years. Despite his rather full plate, Louden used the start of the pandemic as a way to kick-start his newest endeavor, photography.

Birds are a particular source of fascination for the photographer. JACK LOUDEN/Contributed

Shortly after purchasing the photo equipment and his beloved Nikon camera, he began sharing snapshots of majestic Keys sunsets, water birds nestled among mangrove trees, and adorable Key deer nibbling berries edging the Big Pine Key preserves. Some of his newest additions to his collection are photos of local landmarks, Conch-style and shotgun houses, colorful illuminated docksides, and even all our favorite bridges connecting us with our neighbors. His chosen subjects keep expanding along with Jack’s extensive product line. His matted and framed photos, printed greeting cards, and much more, are available for purchase at Guild Hall Gallery, 614 Duval Street in Old Town, Key West. His prices range from just a few dollars for note cards and coffee mugs, to several hundred dollars for his vivid reproductions applied to canvas and aluminum surfaces.

You can see his work online at

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Shannon Wiley is a native Floridian born in Hialeah, Florida. He's an artist, muralist, graphic designer, teacher and coach. He currently lives in Marathon with his two children. Besides painting, he enjoys all the wonders of the Florida Keys. HIs work is for sale at Guild Hall Gallery in Key West and at Shady Palm Gallery in Marathon.