James Archambeault, 76, photographer of Pawleys calendars
March 14, 2019
James Archambeault, a photographer whose images celebrated his adopted state of Kentucky and his second home at Pawleys Island, died March 4. He was 76. He also had a home in Georgetown, Ky.
Mr. Archambeault and his wife, Lee, bought a house on the island nearly 30 years ago. He started doing calendars with photos of the island several years later. The 23rd edition, for 2020, is due out soon.
“He was the ultimate photographer. He saw beauty when other people didn’t,” his wife said. “He was so good at showing people beauty they may not have seen before.”
He was born Feb. 26, 1943, in Flint, Mich. His family moved to Pennsylvania when he was a boy and he studied communications at Duquesne University. He served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines and as a trainer in Hawaii.
On his return to the U.S., Mr. Archambeault took a job with United Press International at the wire service’s office in Louisville, Ky. He later worked for state government and in development.
His turn toward professional photography came when he submitted slides to a publisher of coffee table books that was doing a collection of photos from each state. He was selected to do Kentucky. “That changed my life,” he told the Lexington Herald-Leader in a 2018 interview. “I also realized that I had a lot to learn about photography.”
He began to travel the state and published his first book of photos, “Kentucky,” in 1982. Five more books followed as well as calendars of Kentucky and Pawleys Island.
He told the Herald-Leader that the key to his success was patience. He planned his shots and waited until the conditions were right.
In addition to his wife of 29 years, Lee Oliphant Archambeault, he is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Bennett Chamberlin of Garrett Park, Md.; and his stepsons, Noah Oliphant of Birmingham, Ala., and Eli Kay-Oliphant of Chicago.
Memorial services will be scheduled in Lexington and at Pawleys Island during the Fourth of July week. “Pawleys Island was always our family’s Fourth of July special place,” Mrs. Archambeault said.