In 2002 I had my first solo photography exhibit; it was at the Hosmer Gallery at Forbes Library. In my artist statement for this exhibit, I wrote:
"Several months ago, I had the privilege of meeting Les Campbell. Working with Les and seeing his photographs have been a special and unexpected benefit of my involvement with photography. His kindness and generosity in helping me mat and frame all of the photographs for this show will forever be appreciated. The artistry of his work will provide me with inspiration for many years to come.
I was right—Les was an inspiration to me from 2002 until his death. We became friends, I think. Terry was still living with him when I met Les and the patience, kindness and love he showed her were also inspirational. He gave so much to me and to so many others. Through him, I joined the Pioneer Valley Photographic Artist (PVPA) group, a group he founded and nurtured. I was able to buy all my photographic supplies from him for almost 20 years. Les came to many of my exhibits and to my studio and was always positive and supportive.
Les gave so much to me that I struggled to find ways to give back to him and to convey how appreciative I was of all that he gave to me and of how fond I was of him. At Christmas, I often brought him a meatloaf and a roasted chicken. He was particularly fond of my meatloaf which, in later years, I would divide into many pieces so he could freeze them. He was also fond of pie and rice pudding so they would round out my offerings. Sometimes, I would just visit and we would sit and talk and admire the view.
At the time of his 80th birthday, a tribute was offered to Les from members of the PVPA group. In a letter to Les of the gift, I wrote: The Members of the PVPA, at our best, are more than a group of individual photographers. We are also a community of people who support and encourage one another and teach and learn from one another…You have been the role model and inspiration for creating this community. Through your generosity, talent, organizational ability, great energy, good humor and vision, we have continued to grow and explore new ways to come together and promote our photography.
Les was so grateful for his life at Sky Meadow, for all the help and support he received from his family and friends, for the joy he felt in taking his granddaughter to Mohonk Mountain House, for his deep friendship with Elaine, for the attention and support from his son David, for the recognition he received throughout his life for his contributions to photography. Les led a rich life. I am grateful to have participated in a very small way in that life.
Pioneer Valley Photographic Artists
Great Blue Heron