Born on March 12, 1874 in Hardensburg, KY. Pennington began his photographic career when he was only seventeen years old. In 1897 he established his first photographic studio in Mena, AK. In 1905 suffering from tuberculosis he and his wife moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where he also established a studio and a motion picture theatre. In 1908 Pennington met Lisle Updike who encouraged him to move up to Durango, CO where both men established a partnership and formed the Pen-Dike Studio creating a solid reputation as the finest portrait photographers in the San Juan Basin. The partnership was dissolved in 1912 and Pennington retained ownership of the studio but not after traveling and photographing the various landscapes, places and peoples of the Southwest with Updike which gave him insight into the inhabitants of a harsh land so different from that of his youth.