Father of New England Photography visits The Floyd Gallery…what inspiration!

:Les Campbell with Anne E. Ely visits Rosemary Polletta's exhibit at The Floyd Photo Gallery.

We had a surprise Gallery Visitor this week, our former and beloved Gallery Exhibitor Les Campbell. Les is the Father of New England Photography, his dear friend Newell Green, being the Grandfather of New England Photography. Oh yes, The Gallery has exhibited both their artwork. What a pleasure. What an inspiration.

You see, Les Campbell is 92 years young. So we were more than delighted to have him back here in The Gallery. And what a career he has had…err, is still experiencing. Les has taught the very best nature photographers in our Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts…and then some, including weekend seminars all over the US. Les has been a feature presenter at regional and international photo conventions out “Kodaking Kodak” with his one-of-a-kind synched multi-projector slide presentations. He has received more well deserved honors than anyone here being published in National Geographic, National Audubon, Massachusetts Audubon, Birds and Blooms, and The Journal of Photographic Society of America. 

Image: Les Campbell speaks at The Robert Floyd Photo Gallery. ©Robert Floyd, 2016

Les started as a birder being fascinated with their behaviors. This sparked his interest and later passion for photography. Over 60 years ago, he invented “water-ski” photography designing a platform to crawl out on the back of a speed booat to capture images of water skiers. Most inventive, he created a now nationaly used method of capturing hummingbird images right outside his window. Once, while visiting the man I admire, I saw a flash outside the corner of my eye. Following the light, there was a hummingnird feeding outside the window. “What happened?” I more demanded than asked. Les patiently introduced me to his system of two outdoor flashes positioned to freeze hummingbird flight, not spook them, and create s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g portraits of them, all triggered by a switch near his tripod mounted camera. And my friends, this was in the film days so 'Failure was NOT an option.”

Once while being the guest of honor at a PVPA annual dinner, sitting near Les at the head table, I rose to give a brief…well, back in the day, they were brief…talk. I prurposely stated, “I have no regrets in my life, none! Yet, if I had one it would be not knowing Les Campbell earlier in my life and career.” With that, I leaned over and sort of hugged Les. 

Simply being in the presence of a class act nature…oh and stunning portraits this gentle man can create…photographer inspires me to keep raising the bar higher…and higher for us all.

Les so admired Rosemary Polletta's exhibit at The Gallery. Rosemary's exhibit is here for you through FEB 28. Come be inspired, I am.


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