By JUDY SHERARD
A Christmas gift -- to someone else -- led to Jesse Jensen's interest in photography.
The gift was a digital camera to his mother, Pam Bright, a few years ago.
"She never used it. So one day I decided I would take it out and shoot some photos with it. One thing led to another, and I started getting more involved in it," Jensen said.
While he's done some formal photos such as portraits and weddings, nature is the subject of much of his work displayed and sold at White Chocolate.
Derek Hadley, manager of White Chocolate, said the store has been displaying Jensen's work for a few years.
"It's a little different than what other people are doing, a unique concept. (The) abandoned houses and cars show how nature reclaims modern society," Hadley said.
"I like to go out in the country and drive around until I see something that sparks my imagination."
While Jensen sells the traditional framed photos, some are affixed to wood blocks of various sizes, then topped with a super glaze made for furniture.
"It looks like it has glass on top of it. No one else really does it around here. I like to be different -- have my own style."
His photo magnets also are popular.
Photography also plays into his other passion, skateboarding, which he also considers an art form.
The combination landed him an eight-page spread in the magazine TransWorld. It featured street-league skateboarding at Sprint Center in Kansas City.
The Hays High School graduate is a self-taught photographer, but has taken a New York Institute of Photography course.
"It's not going to teach you everything, but it teaches you the basics."
The photography business is a sideline for Jensen, who works at S&S Supply Co., a plumbing wholesale store.
Eventually he'd like to open a studio to display his work as well as other artists' and photographers' work.
Jensen's website is www.jessejensenphotography.com.