LESLIE VAN GELDER Gallery
I grew up in a household where photography was always present.
My father was a scientist studying large antelope in Africa and two weeks after every trip he took, boxes and boxes of slides would appear on the living room coffee table like a pyramid of yellow bricks, and my brothers and I would sit and hear stories of lions and nyala, or spend time looking into the faces of wildebeests crossing rivers in their migration floods. When I was 16, I got a summer job working in remote Canada. My father’s gift to me was one of his old Nikon cameras and a lens that magically could shoot in macro and wide angle, but did little in between. As a photographer, those became my two favourite views of the world and today I still am always looking for moments of intimacy in capturing a tiny tableau that was otherwise unnoticed or the grandeur and sense of wonder at the enormity of the big picture of the world.
I’m an archaeologist, a writer, a university professor, but when I want to think, or be quiet in myself, it’s almost always with a camera in hand.
Some of the photos Vladka chose for this month are particularly meaningful to me as one of them I took on the day I bought my section above the Precipice Creek a little over 10 years ago. I remember thinking “I can’t believe I’m going to get to live here,” and just about every day I still wake up thinking the same.
These days I write bespoke books for people -- focusing especially on artists and their work, and families and personal legacies. I also study lines people drew on the walls of caves 25,000 years ago. To me, they’re all connected.
Last year I gave a TEDx talk about my archaeological work and my interest in intimacy and kindness and how evidence for it exists even in the small marks people made on cave walls. You can see it here.
My website is http://leslievangelder.com