Just how did photographer Les Kelly get to be such an important part of the vision of Laura Homesites? Here’s William T. Anderson with the story.
“I was speaking at the Pomona Public Library….Kids were in costume. I noticed Les taking many pictures, esp of his kids in costume, Erin and Patrick. We chatted and he told me of his interest in photography.
Later that year Yumiko was contacted by a publisher in Japan interested in doing a Wilder phioto book (which became LIW COUNTRY). She asked me about finding a photographer who would go to all the sites. I realized that any professional would want expenses paid, and would never trek to the out of the way Little House sites on speculation. There was no advance money. Then I thought of Les, as the only person I could think of who would tackle such a project with personal interest and enthusiasm. He did. This led to many projects of his. The rest if history!”
Leslie A. Kelly was a resident of Orange County, California. I was tipped off by a post from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet, South Dakota that he’d passed so I found his obituary.
Published about Laura and the Amish
Kelly was a photographer and for awhile was the main Laura photographer. He teams with William Anderson for books like Laura Ingalls Wilder Country and was the photographer behind many of the photo postcards still sold by the various homesite giftshops.
Harper Collins Author Page
Kelly was very far seeing in registering LauraIngallsWilder.net, .org and several other permutations. A few years ago he decided to retire and take down his site. He put the domains up for sale and it looks like they were all bought as redirects for:
Besides co-producing several books, Kelly also shared a website with Laura historian William T. Anderson.
His Biography For His Website as of 2008
Leslie A. Kelly, "Little House Home Sites" Photographer
Leslie A. Kelly, a resident of Huntington Beach, California, is an internationally known photographer and writer. He has traveled the United States since 1973 photographing Americana. His travel stories and photography about the Amish, covered bridges, rural courthouses and other Americana have appeared in more than 120 magazines, books and calendars in the United States, Europe and Japan, to include Time Magazine, Literary Places In The US, National Geographic Guide To Small Town Escapes, Country, Farm and Ranch Living, Delta Airlines' SKY Magazine, Country America, Touring America and Trailer Life.
Working with Anderson, Kelly has supplied color photography for Laura Ingalls Wilder Country (Harper Collins, 1990), Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder (1992), Little House Country: A Photo Guide to the Home Sites of Laura Ingalls Wilder (1989), Laura Ingalls Wilder Country Cookbook (Harper Collins, 1995) and Little House Guidebook (Harper Collins, 1996) and Little House on the Prairie Photo Guide (Japanese language version, 1988, Kyuryudo Publishing).
With Doyle Yoder, Kelly was co-author and co-photographer for America's Amish Country (1992) and America's Amish Country II (America's Amish Country Revisited) (2000). He has also authored and provided all current photography for two books for the California Gold Rush Sesquicentennial, California's Gold Rush Country 1848 - 1998 (1997) and Traveling California's Gold Rush Country (1997).
Kelly also operates a number of websites to include Amish.Net with online information about the Amish lifestyle and tourism services, California's Gold Rush Country, Show Me The Gold® Tours and NetCopyrightLaw Net Consulting Services.
Kelly is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association in Mansfield, a current member of the Oregon California Trails Association, and a current member and former Publicity Director for the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.
Lawsuit Over Thumbnails and Pinterest
The very fact that he was an early user lead him to file a far reaching lawsuit, Kelly v. Arriba-Soft. This Supreme Court reaching case focused on a search tool that created thumbnails of pictures harvested from a website that you would then click through to that website. Kelly claimed that this use of his images without his consent violated copyright. The company behind the website claimed it was fair use. They won.
Standford Summary (Search for Kelly on the page)
This case has been cited by many people for support for services like Pinterest even though the situations are not all that similar since a key point in the decision was that the service did no actually posting to an independent website and that it merely directed people to the original source. Here are a couple of blog posts that cite the case.
More on the questioning Pinterest legality side
More on the hey it’s fair use fine side
Through his images Kelly made a long lasting mark both on Laura Ingalls Wilder fandom and on legal world of the internet. He will be remembered.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.