History and Special Awards of the Northern Virginia Photographic Society

A Brief History of the Society

In March, 1965, Sil Horwitz, held a meeting at his home in Springfield, Virginia, to discuss ways and means of organizing a camera club to serve all of Northern Virginia. The meeting was attended by a group of Northern Virginia amateur photographers, Everett Johnson of the Greater Washington Council of Camera Clubs (GWCCC), and Jim Burchfield of the Washington Star. Afterwards, handbills were distributed and notices were placed in local newspapers inviting all interested persons to an organizational meeting at the Richard Byrd Library in Springfield on April 7, 1965. Twenty-two amateur photographers attended the meeting and formed what became the Northern Virginia Camera Club. A few had been members of the former Springfield Camera Club, but many were new to an organized camera club. However, they all shared an interest in developing their photographic skills. The members elected Sil Horwitz president, Ted Kirkham secretary, and Harry White treasurer. A committee was formed to write a constitution, and the new club voted to join the GWCCC and the Photographic Society of America (PSA).

Workshop sessions, which were started in 1973, proved helpful in bridging the gaps between novice and more advanced photographers. In that year several club members volunteered to make themselves proficient in various specialized techniques and to present programs demonstrating those techniques to the membership. Subsequently, the same programs were presented at several other camera clubs in the Washington area.

The classes of competition were expanded in September, 1974. The slide making competition was divided into Novice and Advanced classes, giving the club five classes of competition – two each in monochrome prints and color slides and one in color prints.

During the 1974-1975 season, the Executive Board worked on revising the constitution, bylaws, and rules of competition. They completed the task in mid-May 1975, and the membership ratified the revisions at a regular meeting at the Robinson School on June 4, 1975. The club also voted to change the name to the Northern Virginia Photographic Society.

Special Awards

The following awards are presented at the annual End Of Year (EOY) Banquet. The named awards below were created to honor members who have made important contributions to our Society.

The appropriateness of the current named awards should be revisited at least every five years. When deemed proper by the President, a committee of three former presidents shall conduct the review and recommend the addition/deletion of named awards honoring deceased/retired former members. The Board should be authorized to accept or reject each recommendation.

  • Sil Horwitz President’s Award (Presented each year to outgoing President)
  • Ollie Fife Image of the Year Award
  • Dave Carter Education Award
  • Joe Atchison Award For Outstanding Service to NVPS
  • Distinguished Service Award

Sil Horwitz President’s Award

This award is presented each year to the outgoing President. This award not only honors the NVPS President, but also honors Sil for his 33 plus years of contributions to amateur fine photography in NVPS, PSA and other groups around the country.


Sil Horwitz, FPSA, was one of the original founders and the First President of the Northern Virginia Photographic Society in 1965 and, although he has retired to Florida, he remains active in photography and is still exploring new worlds. He has served as the Webmaster for the Photographic Society of America (PSA) and, for years, has written a column in the PSA Journal on new photographic products. A number of years ago, we were honored when Sil came up from Florida to attend NVPS’ annual banquet. This was a chance for some of us newer members (only 10 years in the club) to meet Sil personally and hear his views on several subjects. The club was then in an internal debate on digital imaging and manipulation and Sil was very frank with his views on the subject. He was excited about the future possibilities.

(Written by Sherwin Kaplan)

Past Presidents

Current Ron Taylor
2019-2020 Kevin Egan
2018-2019 Stan Bysshe
2017-2018 Bill Millhouser
2016-2017 Kevin Egan
2015-2016 Jamie Kiechlin
2014-2015 Georgette Grossman
2013-2014 Mike Whalen
2012-2013 Willa Friedman
2011-2012 Bob Friedman
2010–2011 Sandi Croan
2009–2010 Sandi Croan
2008–2009 Tom Brett
2007–2008 Scott Musson
2006–2007 Sam Schaen
2005–2006 Ralph Edwards
2004–2005 Carl Zelman
2003–2004 Mary Ann Setton
2002–2003 Janis Boyce
2001–2002 Joe Miller
2000–2001 Chuck Veatch
1999–2000 Wayne Wolfersberger
1998–1999 Frank Mertes
1997–1998 Janis Higdon (Nov 97 to Jun 98)
1997-1997 Katrina Marsha (Sep 97 to Oct 97) Resigned in Oct 1997 (moved to Atlanta)
1996–1997 Jim Wood
1995–1996 Andy Klein
1994–1995 Carolyn O’Connor
1993–1994 Josh Taylor
1992–1993 Zanne Tillman
1991–1992 Ed Funk
1990–1991 Sherwin Kaplan
1989–1990 Craig Wineman
1988–1989 Fred Siskind
1987–1988 Gretchen Kolsrud
1986–1987 Dave Carter
1985–1986 Brice Harbert
1984–1985 Erwin Siegel
1983–1984 Esta Gladstone
1982–1983 Dave Naley
1981–1982 Bill Valencourt
1980–1981 Glen Ohmund
1979–1980 Kathy Steele
1978–1979 Greg Gregory
1977–1978 Joe Stroske
1976–1977 Jim Steele
1975–1976 Tom Hady
1974–1975 Bill Hezlep
1973–1974 Alan lsicson
1972–1973 Royal Burkhardt
1971–1972 John Attinello
1970–1971 Newell Terry
1969–1970 Lars Janson
1968–1969 Bob Crosby
1967–1968 Harry White
1966–1967 Ken Murray
1965–1966 Sil Horwitz

Ollie Fife Image of the Year Award

Beginning in 2010-2011, our End of Year Banquet Judge will select the Ollie Fife Image of the Year winner from all images that qualify for that year’s end-of-year competition. The Award is a trophy once owned by Ollie Fife and donated in his name by his daughter Pat Salamone. The Award will be given annually and the trophy will pass to the new winner. The  list below shows all recipients of the Ollie Fife Award that began in 1997.


Ollie Fife, FPSA. Born, Oliver E. Pfeiffer, April 2, 1912, Middleton, Massachusetts. Died June 14, 1996, Alexandria, Virginia. Ollie Fife, as we knew him, worked in the Lawrence textile mills while studying advertising in night school. He moved to New York City after the 1929 Stock Market crash and worked for a Madison Avenue ad agency before finding his niche in freelance photography. In WWII he became a Navy Chief Photographer’s Mate and designed and supervised the construction of a photo laboratory on board the aircraft carrier USS Sargent Bay from which he flew aerial photo missions. His career included being a newspaper photographer for the New York Times, Sunday Times & Travel Section, US Camera, Camera, Camera Craft, Ladies Home Journal and the illustrated London News. After the war he moved to Washington, DC, where he worked for the State Department, and as a writer/photographer covered the White House, Capitol Hill, and the Embassies. For the USIA International Press Service as a staff photographer he documented State Visits of the Queen of England; the King of Belgium; the Crown Prince of Japan; Soviet Premier Khrushchev; Prime Minister Nehru; French President DeGaulle; the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg; the Emir of Kuwait; and scores of other foreign presidents, vice presidents, and prime ministers as well as cultural and artistic groups. He retired from the USIA in 1976 after more than 25 years of service. In retirement, he traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad pursuing his lifelong interest in photography. Ollie was a Fellow of the Photographic Society of America and active in many of its activities, among which he was Photojournalism Division News Editor for many years, wrote numerous articles and lectured and presented programs at PSA meetings and conventions. He assisted many NVPS members and conducted programs and judged photographic competitions for area clubs. Ollie brought honor to the Northern Virginia Photographic Society by his presence.

(Written by Lynn Maniscalco)

Winners of the Ollie Fife – Image of the Year – Awards

2020 Ed Short
2019 Stan Bysshe
2018 Kevin Egan
2017 Laurie Kuyk
2016 Willa Siegel
2015 George Karamarkovich
2014 Mike Whalen   
2013 Beth Morris
2012 Vivian Luu
2011 Sam Schaen
2010 Thomas H. Brett
2009 Amie Tannenbaum
2008 Amie Tannenbaum
2007 Amie Tannenbaum
2006 Chuck Bress
2005 Tom Brett
2004 Ralph Edwards
2003 Drew Smith
2002 Ed Funk
2001 Ed Funk
2000 Sherwin Kaplan
1999 Sherwin Kaplan
1998 Sherwin Kaplan
1997 Chuck Veatch

Dave Carter Education Award

Dave Carter Education Award is designed to reward an experienced photographer for exceptional achievement in the training and development of the photographic skills of beginning and intermediate photographers.

The award consists of a camera mounted on a block of finished wood with four brass plates for engraving the awardee name and year. It is kept by the awardee for one year or until a new awardee is named and returned to the club for the next winner. A permanent award is also made for the recipient to retain.

The specific criteria and process for making this award follow:

  • Emphasis should be for conducting workshops and critiques, leading field trips which provide an educational component, mentoring, (either formal or informal) publishing articles in Fotofax, on the web site, etc.
  • Need not require holding formal leadership posts in the club
  • Should have a subjective element in that simply conducting 10 critiques will not do it; the person also must have excellent teaching ability
  • By the last board meeting before the banquet, a committee chaired by an appointee of the president and including the director of workshops and field trips will report to the Board on possible candidates
  • The Board will vote on any recommendations made. There may be more than one award in a year, but in most years, there will likely be none or one
  • The emphasis should be on club efforts to help people new to photography learn both technical and artistic aspects of the subject so that they become better photographers


David Carter (1938-2008) had an enormous impact on the growth and development of the Northern Virginia Photographic Society. Dave grew up in Michigan and participated in several camera clubs as a young man. He completed his post-graduate psychology studies and earned his doctorate in New York before accepting an assistant professorship at Georgetown University in the early 80’s. When he joined NVPS in 1983 he brought his significant photographic skills, teaching skills, keen vision and understanding of visual design, and knowledge of camera club activities. He devoted this wealth of knowledge and talent to our organization and has left an enduring legacy that includes:

  • Starting two regular activities that continue today and into our future. The monthly FORUM meeting and the Member’s Gallery show are attributed to Dave’s early leadership although he always deflected credit to others for their ideas and assistance.
  • His On Location column appeared monthly in our Fotofax newsletter. Dave’s meticulous writings and directions could lead anyone right to his tripod holes. His research pointed out items of interest for photographers and non-photographers. These writings became a significant part of a Field Trip Guide Book published by the Northern Virginia Alliance of Camera Clubs and remain useful today. Dave authored or co-authored several other Alliance publications.
  • Dave served as FOTOFAX newsletter editor for a number of years. Since that time our newsletter has received several awards from the Photographic Society of America for its excellence.
  • Dave conducted many workshops and his influence was infectious. His Night Photography workshop (with Gary Silverstein) sent us off in a new and delightful direction.
  • His Learning from the Masters workshop (with Jim Steele) taught us to see how the great painters used design and light in their work; and as a result his influence made our visits to museums and art galleries a more pleasurable experience.
  • His Macro and Close-up Photography workshops were inspirational to many of us. Dave showed us that we didn’t have to buy expensive equipment to take advantage of these techniques. We could use extension tubes, tele-extenders, diopters and reversing rings and achieve extraordinary effects.

(Written by Ed Funk)

Winner of the Dave Carter Education Award

2011 Joseph A. Miller

Joe Atchison Award for Outstanding Service to NVPS

This award was established in 1998 after the death of Dr. Joe Atchison. Joe had been a member of NVPS for many years and made significant contributions to the club. On learning of Joe’s death, many club members asked that NVPS find a way to honor Joe’s memory. A committee was chartered to study the matter and ultimately recommended a ‘service award to go to an individual who has performed outstanding service to the club over a period of many years.’ The Board set a very high bar for this award. At its inception, it was strongly believed that only one club member, Dave Carter met the requirements. Joe Atchison was honored by naming the award after him and Dave Carter was honored as the Joe Atchison Award’s first recipient.” This decision was met with universal approval and is considered the highest award offered by NVPS. Other recipients of the Joe Atchison are listed below.

The award consists of a camera mounted on a block of finished wood with four brass plates for engraving the awardee name and year. It is kept by the awardee for one year or until a new awardee is named and returned to the club for the next winner. A permanent award is also made for the recipient to retain. In the past, it has been in the form of a finished wood base (plaque like) with a brass plate for engraving and a crystal vase that sits on the base.

The criteria for this award follow:

  • Length of service. Service to include at least 12 years of active service. This service must include positions critical to the fulfillment of the NVPS mission. (President, Vice President – Competition, Vice President – Programs, Workshop and Field Trip chairs are particularly critical because of their educational nature)
  • To what extent has this service changed the club for the better? Describe.
  • Is there tangible evidence of the nominee’s impact? Describe.
  • To what extent has the nominee served as a role model/mentor for service by others? Describe.
  • To what extent has the nominee inspired others to serve NVPS? Who has been encouraged to volunteer their services? Describe this “encouragement.”

The process for making this award follows:

  •  Nomination is to be made in writing to the current president and must describe in detail how each of the above criteria has been met.
  •  A three person committee appointed by the president and chaired by a former Atchison Award winner will review, investigate, and make the final determination.

Recipients of the Joe Atchison Award for Outstanding Service

2017 Willa Friedman
2016 Bob Friedman
2015 Sam Schaen
2013 Tom Brett
2008 Bill Prosser
2004 Sherwin Kaplin
2003 Andrew  L. Klein
2002 Joseph A. Miller
2001 Edwin H. Funk
2000 F.W. “Greg” Gregory
1999 Erwin A. Siegel
1998 David E. Carter

The Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award was established in 2010 to honor volunteers who make significant contributions of service to NVPS.

NVPS is run by, and thrives on, the efforts of its volunteers. Past presidents have recognized deserving individuals informally with plaques or through announcements and writings for the web or newsletter. NVPS values the role of its volunteers and believes formal recognition should be given to those individuals who make significant contributions of service.

Earning the Distinguished Service Award requires sustained distinction beyond that normally expected in the performance of NVPS duties while acting in an appointed or elected position. This performance must have been noteworthy, and that person must have made a significant contribution(s) to the:

  •  smooth functioning and efficiency of NVPS
  •  advancement of our photographic education
  •  enjoyment experienced by members
  •  advancement of members’ photographic skills through encouragement and motivation/inspiration
  •  showcased the quality photographic work of NVPS members to bring recognition to NVPS contributions to the community
  • the president will select recipients of the award based on:
    • observation of club operations while carrying out the duties of the president
    • recommendations submitted by others

Granting of the award is optional and at the discretion of the president. There may be multiple awards at any time. An acrylic engraved plaque has been created to be given to the recipient(S) of the Distinguished Service Award.

The Distinguished Service Award should not be confused with theJoe Atchison Award for Outstanding Service which is presented for extraordinary service over many years and where the bar has been set to a very high standard.

Members who receive this award will remain eligible for The Joe Atchison Award for Outstanding Service or any other awards.

Recipients of the Distinguished Service Award

2019 Jeff Hancock,  Mike Whalen 
2019 Scott Musson,  Mike Whalen 
2018 Mike Whalen
2015 Bob Friedman, Willa Friedman, Jeff Hancock
2013 Scott Musson
2010 Tom Brett