Many of Kevin Fleming's photographs showcase the beauty of Lewes, whether the highlighting its history with the Lightship Overfalls or its nature with shots from Cape Henlopen State Park. Now, thanks to a unique agreement with Half Full owner Matt DiSabatino, award-winning photographer is bringing his work to Lewes for the first time.
For the next four months, Fleming will occupy 125 Second St., the future location of the new Half Full. Work on the restaurant will begin this fall.
“For me, it was a great opportunity to have a gallery during prime time in the best location in Lewes,” he said.
Fleming is a regular at St. Peter's Annual Art Show each July and the Delaware By Hand Members' Day Show each May, but has never had a chance to offer his work long term in Lewes.
The gallery, next to Kindle, will be open until at least Sept. 15, displaying hundreds of photographs Fleming has captured over his illustrious career. Fleming says nearly all of his photographs are taken within five to 10 miles of downtown Lewes and most were taken within the last five years. The rest, he said, are a collection favorites from his career, like a 1976 shot of an Amish buggy and an 1800s barn in the Grand Tetons Mountains.
Fleming struck a deal with DiSabatino about a week before opening. He quickly got to work with his son, Ben, fixing up the storefront. The building was in rough shape, but they were able to get it ready for the summer season's first big weekend.
The gallery had a soft opening Saturday of Memorial Day and by Sunday, he said, he could barely catch his breath.
“I was in here all by myself and I was so busy that I could hardly even talk to people,” he said. “Sales were as good as any day I've had in Rehoboth.”
Fleming also has a gallery at 239 Rehoboth Ave. in Rehoboth Beach.
Fleming's photographs are available in canvas and paper print, varying in dimensions from 8-by-10 to 40-by-60. Notecards measuring 5-by-7 are also popular. Five of Fleming's books are available at the gallery, including his most recent publication, “The Beach,” released last November. Only 500 of the 7,500 books remain, he said.
Fleming grew up in near Clayton and Smyrna in Kent County. While on a class trip to New York, he said, he bought a 400 mm lens to photograph Bombay Hook. He turned photography into a career, spending 10 years with National Geographic traveling around the world. He's photographed 28 countries and all 50 states, but now spends most of his time back where he grew up, capturing the beauty of the Cape Region.
Fleming knows folks in Coastal Delaware probably know his work from either his 25 Delaware Beach Life covers or his photographs in every Tuesday of the Cape Gazette, but real satisfaction comes from when those unfamiliar buy his work.
“It's nice that people from out of town are seeing it and liking it,” he said.
In just his first weekend open, he already received orders from several out-of-state visitors.
The Lewes gallery is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily. The Rehoboth Beach location operates from noon to 7 p.m., Sunday through Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday. To view Fleming's photographs, go to www.kevinfleming.com. For more information, call 800-291-7600.