Mickeal Kenna was born in 1953 in Lancashire, England into a working class, Irish-Catholic family. He attended a catholic seminary school, Upholland College, but aspirations for priesthood diverged when he enrolled at Banbury School of Art in Oxfordshire. He had no artistic background, his father was a builder and all his brothers left school early to become engineers. At art school he excelled in painting, but went on to study photography at the London College of Printing, from which he graduated with distinction in 1976. It was here he was first exposed to the photographers Bill Brandt, Ansel Adams, Josef Sudek and Alfred Steiglitz, whom were to become profoundly influential.
On a trip to New York in the mid 1970s, Kenna felt a higher acceptance of photography as an art form than in England and discovered more substantial photography galleries. Consequently, in 1977 he moved to San Francisco. He met the photographer Ruth Bernhard and worked as her assistant and printmaker for over ten years, acknowledging the lasting influence of her high quality printing. Here he could begin to centre his attention on landscape photography, only ever his hobby in England. Still captivated with this subject, Kenna is now one of the foremost landscape photographers in the world. He currently lives in Seattle with his family and continues to travel widely for his ongoing projects.
Kenna's photographs have been shown in numerous exhibitions around the world and are held in over 80 permanent collections including the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He has won numerous awards including the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. To date there are 42 published books of Kenna's photography.