Posted on April 11, 2018 by Scot Allen
After a full day working in the Mid-Pacific Preschool, Pedagogista Leslie Gleim has found a very fulfilling and creative way to relax. You see, on evenings, weekends and holidays Gleim can be found photographing from a helicopter, or printing her still-life photographs for gallery shows, or photographing flowers, or tending to her popular Instagram page.
Her work has not gone unnoticed. Most recently, she was featured in Shades of Grey, an online fine arts magazine. The publisher of Shades of Grey found Gleim through her Instagram posts. She also has had several solo shows and was published online recently by Leica camera.
"I am very honored to have been interviewed and to have my macro floral work shared in Shades of Grey magazine," she told her Instagram followers.
In many ways, her work away from school work is a natural expansion of her work here on campus. The years she has spent at Mid-Pacific documenting the daily discoveries and work of students has trained her eye to capture the gestures found in a child's life, as well as in nature.
Though much of her work at school is in vivid color, a good deal of her personal work is in carefully considered black and white.
"Color can get in the way sometimes," she says. "Black and white allows you to (truly) see the subject and its gesture."
Her flower still life work is a carefully composed examination of a tried-and-true subject, yet these images, she says, are not always about the subject. "I work with metaphor; sometimes a flower may really be about a whisper..."
She has photographed for more than 20 years and calls this precious time her "phototherapy." She also notes that her father, a local veterinarian, was an oil painter who often painted flower still lifes. In an happy realization, she noticed that her passion -- the carefully composed flower images -- featured motifs and compositions inspired by her father's paintings that she hadn't seen in years.
Traditionally, landscape and still-life photographers were burdened with tripods and heavy large format cameras. Gleim's technical style is a bit unconventional. She prefers to use smaller cameras, usually hand-held. This gives her the freedom to move and explore a subject until she finds something that resonates with her soul.
Most recently she has begun photographing the natural world from a helicopter, documenting, for example, the ever-changing landscape of the Big Island, which is continually being re-shaped by volcanic activity and climate change.
Gleim has nearly 7,000 followers on Instagram. She makes sure each image is connected to the proper hashtags, thus ensuring that the photos can be seen and enjoyed. She says it is uncanny and a bit surreal how the power of Instagram has blossomed her passion into a highly-regarded second career. The process is reciprocal, she says, she routinely follows folks who follow her and always replies to messages and comments.
Online photography magazine Shades of Grey
Susan Spiritus Gallery in California
Main title photo courtesy of Bruce Omori, Extreme Exposure Fine Art Gallery, Hilo.