Carol Biliczky

KENT: Kent State President Lester Lefton has added another feather to his cap: professional photographer.

Lefton has launched a website under his name to sell his photos of a wide variety of subjects — everything from a Halifax fishing village to the second-largest Jewish cemetery in Europe to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

“I have determined, after great research, that I need an eighth day in every week for photography,” he says on the website.

Lefton does not directly identify himself as head of one of the largest public universities in Ohio. He refers to himself as a university educator/administrator who works “seven days a week, pretty much 24 hours a day” in his quests to “improve America one student at a time” and to “increase artistic sensitivity one pixel at a time.”

Through KSU spokeswoman Emily Vincent, he said he is not looking to promote the site and that the photos speak for themselves.

“Photography is one of his hobbies,” Vincent said in an email. “He decided to make his work available online since he is often asked about his photography and getting prints of his work.”

The website stems from Lefton’s early love of photography, working in the studio his father owned and operated. The photos come from Lester’s wide travels and are accompanied by brief explanations.

One section is devoted to his visits to Florence, Italy, where KSU has a campus he has visited three times since becoming president, most recently in April with friends and alumni. Other collections feature inanimate objects, like vehicles in Havana, and of such people as a street performer in Barcelona, Spain, and a lone KSU football player in the bleachers.

Lefton offers most of his color photos for sale on the website, www.lesterlefton.com. Prices range from $29.99 for an 8-by-10-inch print to $1,131.99 for a premium, 24-by-30-inch giclee watercolor of museum standards. SmugMug, a paid digital photosharing service, handles the ordering and processing of photos.

On the website Lefton says proceeds will go toward a student scholarship: “Buy a print, support a student. What a deal!”

Fans of Lefton’s work apparently don’t have to buy it to have it around. The work can be copied, distributed and transmitted without cost, although Lefton wants to be credited for the work and it should not be used for commercial purposes.

The website, designed by KSU web coordinator Nick Gehring, includes a casual photo of a smiling Lefton in a blue and yellow plaid shirt.

Carol Biliczky can be reached at cbiliczky@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3729.