Kerry Ellington, Special to the Register
WEST HAVEN—Besides fighting fires, West Shore Fire Department Lt. Kevin McKeon journeys statewide taking timeless photographs of fire engines.
If fact, if there’s a fire engine in Connecticut he hasn’t taken a picture of, he’d like to know about it. "It’s a hobby that I’ve had for 30 years. I like to take pictures of fire trucks," said McKeon, who recently published the third volume of his book series, simply titled "Connecticut Fire Apparatus."
The photo album is a compilation of trucks from each of the state’s 169 towns and cities.
"On my time, I go around to every fire district and take photos," said McKeon.
He also writes a short description of each truck, noting its age and unique details.
In addition to fire departments, trucks from industrial departments and private collectors are represented.
Firefighting is McKeon’s first love, but he’s developed into a competent photographer. He keeps it simple, shooting each truck usually from a front angle and always in bright sunlight.
"It’s an art form. Fire engines can be works of art," said McKeon.
The new book has received three five-star reviews on Amazon.com.
It was also featured in Fire Apparatus Journal, a bi-monthly magazine about fire trucks that’s considered the Bible of the genre.
The new book will be the last of McKeon’s published works.
"It’s a lot of work, a lot of time and money," said McKeon, who released the first volume in 1987 and the second in 1998. McKeon published the photo book in black and white to limit the cost.
He also switched publishing companies, now using Gist & Herlin Press of West Haven.
"I wanted to maintain control of how I wanted the book to look," said McKeon, who said his former publisher limited his creative control.
"I did all the text and set the pictures how I wanted them. I was basically the middle man," said McKeon.
McKeon, a West Haven native, also wanted to use Herlin Press because it’s a local business.
"Kevin has 27 years on the job and he’s certainly a good ambassador," said West Shore Fire Chief Hal Burns. "For Kevin to go out and use his services it portrays the department in a good light."