Retired Professor Donates Gifts to the UH Hilo Library

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Nov 15, 2001

Almost everyone who enters the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Library notices the large photograph that hangs above the color copier near the Circulation Desk. Eyes rest on this lovely image while waiting in line to check out books, admiring the graceful palm trees that remind us we live in a tropical island paradise. The photographer who captured this scene from Puuhonua o Honaunau is UH Hilo's talented Dr. James Kelly, who donated this piece to the Library last spring.

Kelly, who recently retired as professor of geography, generously donated 10 more beautiful photographs of local scenery and plant life to the Library during the summer. He framed them, hung them gallery-style on the Library's lower level walls, creating a better environment for study and contemplation.

"We wanted to give the students a spacious area with comfortable chairs, access to library resources and room to spread out their work, read, think,or relax," said Thora Abarca, librarian of public services. "Dr. Kelly's photographs add color, beauty and a sense of place. Focusing on class assignments is sometimes easier if you can let your mind wander momentarily down a trail that disappears mysteriously into the woods or visualize a stand of vibrant gold-colored bamboo."

Kelly, who started taking outdoor photographs as a hobby a fews years ago, enjoys the connection with art and nature and notes that "photography is about creating a little mystery--an image may mean something different to each viewer."

With his tripod and camera in his backpack, he prefers to hike to a place alone and search for just the right composition. He may not find it the first time he visits a spot, but maybe the second, or third time. Kelly has won awards for his photography for the last three years, at the fall and spring Big Island Art Shows. Now that he is retired, he plans to continue looking for images that he wants to capture and explore different ways to frame his work.

"Dr. Kelly has always been a part of the Library," Abarca said. "As a geography professor, he integrated library research into his coursework and encouraged his students to use the Library for information. It seems very appropriate that, through his artistic creations, he will continue to inspire Library users to explore the world and appreciate its beauty."