Leo Kim

Celebrating North Dakota



A stunning exhibition of black and white photographs of North Dakota by award-winning photographer, Leo Kim, captures the state's brilliant skies and vast, open landscape.

Thirty-five elegant photographs portray the almost palpable incandescence of rural vistas. The focus on sky and land is breath-taking in its totality and vision and seems to offer an omniscient view of North Dakota. It's not a bird's-eye view, but there's an impression of this. The photographs tell of a land where the sky is two-thirds of everything. In Kim's words - " ... the open prairies, rolling hills, and gigantic skies celebrate liberating isolation but reflect the strong and fierce nature of the land."

The range of Leo Kim's subject-matter reflects the dignified beauty of North Dakota: grain elevators in Rugby, clouds riding high over a gleaming prairie; wheat in the wind in Mohall, the structured diagonal lines of a tipi, County Road #3 in Napoleon, two grain shovels in alignment against a wooden wall, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Belfield-a composition in line and texture-and a coulee during spring thaw in Carrington.

Leo Kim portrays the Dakota landscape with the eye of one who loves the land. A childhood spent in the thick of Shanghai, Macao, Hong Kong, and Austria, heightened Leo Kim's appreciation for the vast rural terrain and lightly scattered inhabitants of North Dakota. Kim traveled alone through North Dakota to gather the images for this exhibition, stopping sometimes to make a shot and other times gathering inspiration for the next. He usually makes two to four frames per scene, using a 4x5 view camera. The recipient of the Gold Award for excellence in corporate photography from Photo/Design magazine, New York, Leo Kim has won other awards, including the Best of Show award for the photography and design of North Dakota Arts & Humanities Council Annual Report. His work has been featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, International Photo District Magazine, New York and in Format, a Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine. Leo Kim has exhibited in a solo photo show at Carver and Beard Gallery, Bloomington, Minnesota, and at the Plains Art Museum, Moorhead, Minnesota.

Kim studied at the University of Vienna, and in 1969 moved to the United States to study design and architecture. While attending North Dakota State University in Fargo, Kim worked at the Fargo Forum where his photo assignments took him across North Dakota. For fifteen months between 1974 and 1975, as a volunteer in Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Kim edited the reservation newspaper.

Leo Kim lives in Minneapolis and works as a professional photographer. His clients include American Express, Boston Scientific, Dupont, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Honeywell, Medtronic, Wells Fargo Bank, Rockwell International and the University of Minnesota.