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

    2023-2024Ginger Werz-Petricka
    2022-2023Kirk Johnson
    2021-2022Judy Graham
    2020-2021Ron Taylor
    2019-2020Kevin Egan
    2018-2019Stan Bysshe
    2017-2018Bill Millhouser
    2016-2017Kevin Egan
    2015-2016Jamie Kiechlin
    2014-2015Georgette Grossman
    2013-2014Mike Whalen
    2012-2013Willa Friedman
    2011-2012Bob Friedman
    2010–2011Sandi Croan
    2009–2010Sandi Croan
    2008–2009Tom Brett
    2007–2008Scott Musson
    2006–2007Sam Schaen
    2005–2006Ralph Edwards
    2004–2005Carl Zelman
    2003–2004Mary Ann Setton
    2002–2003Janis Boyce
    2001–2002Joe Miller
    2000–2001Chuck Veatch
    1999–2000Wayne Wolfersberger
    1998–1999Frank Mertes
    1997–1998Janis Higdon (Nov 97 to Jun 98)
    1997-1997Katrina Marsha (Sep 97 to Oct 97) Resigned in Oct 1997 (moved to Atlanta)
    1996–1997Jim Wood
    1995–1996Andy Klein
    1994–1995Carolyn O’Connor
    1993–1994Josh Taylor
    1992–1993Zanne Tillman
    1991–1992Ed Funk
    1990–1991Sherwin Kaplan
    1989–1990Craig Wineman
    1988–1989Fred Siskind
    1987–1988Gretchen Kolsrud
    1986–1987Dave Carter
    1985–1986Brice Harbert
    1984–1985Erwin Siegel
    1983–1984Esta Gladstone
    1982–1983Dave Naley
    1981–1982Bill Valencourt
    1980–1981Glen Ohmund
    1979–1980Kathy Steele
    1978–1979Greg Gregory
    1977–1978Joe Stroske
    1976–1977Jim Steele
    1975–1976Tom Hady
    1974–1975Bill Hezlep
    1973–1974Alan lsicson
    1972–1973Royal Burkhardt
    1971–1972John Attinello
    1970–1971Newell Terry
    1969–1970Lars Janson
    1968–1969Bob Crosby
    1967–1968Harry White
    1966–1967Ken Murray
    1965–1966Sil Horwitz

    Ollie Fife Award for Image of the Year

    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)

    “Ollie Fife” Awards For Image Of The Year

    2023Thien Nguyen
    2022Gary Perlow
    2021Kimxuan Nguyen
    2020Ed Short
    2019Stan Bysshe
    2018Kevin Egan
    2017Laurie Kuyk
    2016Willa Siegel
    2015George Karamarkovich
    2014Mike Whalen   
    2013Beth Morris
    2012Vivian Luu
    2011Sam Schaen
    2010Thomas H. Brett
    2009Amie Tannenbaum
    2008Amie Tannenbaum
    2007Amie Tannenbaum
    2006Chuck Bress
    2005Tom Brett
    2004Ralph Edwards
    2003Drew Smith
    2002Ed Funk
    2001Ed Funk
    2000Sherwin Kaplan
    1999Sherwin Kaplan
    1998Sherwin Kaplan
    1997Chuck 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

    2011Joseph 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

    2021Mike Whalen
    2017Willa Friedman
    2016Bob Friedman
    2015Sam Schaen
    2013Tom Brett
    2008Bill Prosser
    2004Sherwin Kaplin
    2003Andrew  L. Klein
    2002Joseph A. Miller
    2001Edwin H. Funk
    2000F.W. “Greg” Gregory
    1999Erwin A. Siegel
    1998David 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

    2020Jeff Hancock,  Mike Whalen 
    2019Scott Musson,  Mike Whalen 
    2018Mike Whalen
    2015Bob Friedman, Willa Friedman, Jeff Hancock
    2013Scott Musson
    2010Tom Brett
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