The Pioneer Valley Photographic Artists (PVPA) was founded in 1997 to bring together like-minded, serious photographers who are passionate about their work, to promote knowledge about photography and to stimulate personal growth among the PVPA members. The genesis of the organization was due to the combined efforts of Les Campbell, who was the first President the PVPA and Alfredo DiLascia, who owned Alfredo’s Gallery in Amherst, Massachusetts. The attached images show the two sides of the first PVPA descriptive brochure and the founding members of the organization.
Les hosted many of the early monthly PVPA meetings at his Sky Meadow Gallery next to his house. Members brought their prints or their 35mm slides and Les had the projectors all set to go. He was a gracious hoist. Les ordered supplies and many learned to mat, frame, or photograph wildlife with him. And through it all he was respectful, patient and supportive.
The PVPA created an annual award (consisting of a book of photographic images contributed by PVPA members) which was typically presented to an influential and excellent photographer in the Pioneer Valley. Les was an early recipient of the PVPA Award. In 2016 the Pioneer Valley Photographic Artists members presented to Les his second PVPA award for Lifetime Contributions to Photography in the Pioneer Valley (and beyond). The reason for this second award was to celebrate and reward Les’ wonderful and generous attitude. What particularly distinguished Les was that he was always willing to help others with their efforts and learning using his many skills and deep knowledge. So, this award was presented to honor and appreciate Les Campbell’s caring and giving nature and his lifetime of contributions to photography.
Contributed by Bob Hallock. Charter Member and Past President of PVPA
This was printed on a single sheet, both sides and was intended to be folded vertically with the PVAP on the front and the founding members on the back (after folding). As you will see from the accompanying text, Les was the first president of PVPA. As any member will tell you, Les was in many ways a guiding light to all of us.
I first met Les Campbell in 1997 during the early days of Alfredo’s Gallery in Amherst in the context of the founding of the Pioneer Valley Photographic Artists. I was relatively new to large format black and white photography and Les’ positive comments on my early work were a great encouragement to me. I recall the discussions of a small group of photographers who together offered opinions on the idea of an organization like PVPA. One of Les’ opinions always has resonated with me: he did not think that an organization like the one contemplated for PVPA should engage in contests that required choices among photographs. Rather, we should simply appreciate the efforts of each of us and constructively support and learn from each other. Les’ contributions will be remembered by us for a long time.
Fine Arts Center
"When the Fine Arts Center at UMass Amherst was created, there was a reflecting pool in front of the main entrance. This pool has now been replaced by a parking lot. To capture this image on film required a four minute exposure close to midnight."
Along Falls Road in Sunderland there is a lovely waterfall that can be viewed directly from the road. After many visits, the water and light conditions were particularly pleasant.
For many years a large old storage container, now long gone, sat on the west side of the UMass campus. Eventually the patterns in the curled paint were irresistible. So, one day with a high overcast sky the light was quite nice and a 4x5 film capture was straightforward.