In 1998 a friend from the Hallmark Institute of Photography recommended that I check out this new photo group, the Pioneer Valley Photographic Artists. I was itching to pursue photography beyond commercial work and went to Alfredo’s Gallery in Amherst for a group exhibit and met Les Campbell there. He was very welcoming and emphasized how this new group was going to focus on marketing art photography. Pretty soon going to Sky Meadow for monthly photo sharing was an exciting and regular part of part of my life. His studio was set up with the 3 slide projectors on a raised walkway in back. Les was very patient with the fervor of the discussions about the images shared, even though they often went on for several hours.
Les always was very encouraging to me, even though my photo work was very different from his. He was tireless at organizing group shows and helping fellow photographers in a variety of ways – from learning how to mat & frame photo work, to making it possible to get finishing materials from his suppliers. What always struck me was his caring and warmth towards others. And his tireless efforts promote the work and photographers of PVPA. And this went on until the last years of his life. He always brought the easels and set them up and well as the display lights to the annual dinner. At these occasions he shared his amazement and pride about this little group that he and Alfredo started all those years ago had preserved and flourished with such top-quality artists.
The photograph “Vincent's Lilies” has special connection for me to Les. He had a calendar printed in the late 1990’s with all the works by PVPA artists, by his calendar printer, and this image was included. This was the first time an image of mine was printed in bulk for distribution and I was honored to have my work in there.