It is with deep sadness that South Peace Regional Archives learned of the death of local photographer Paul Pivert on the evening of February 17. Paul was a huge supporter of this Archives and donated his tremendous photograph collection to us a few years ago. He was helpful and accommodating and always ready to visit. In 2012 SPRA awarded him the Beth Sheehan Archives Award to recognize his significant contribution to the history of the area.
Born and raised in the Grande Prairie area, Paul inherited his interest in photography from his father and uncles, excellent amateur photographers who documented their own activities and community events from the time they arrived in the south Peace in 1929.
Paul’s photography career began as a teenager when his brother Roland gave him an old folding Kodak camera. Paul studied photography books and practiced on everything: the dog, the family, his friends at school and on the bus. He went on to study at the Fairview School of Agriculture but continued his photography on the yearbook committee.
In December 1966 Paul was hired by Panda Camera and in 1973 he became the sole owner of a new company, Panda Camera (1973) Ltd. In 1976, Paul also opened a dedicated portrait studio, the “House of Portraits” (later “Studio on the Park”) located in an historic home on the corner of 102 Street and 102 Avenue. Paul’s photography business continued to operate until 2002.
Paul’s photographs are crucial in documenting the history of this area. He covered everything from family portraits, weddings, and pets to theatre productions, graduations, confirmations, conventions, reunions, anniversary celebrations, visiting dignitaries, political events, opening celebrations, parades, trade shows, tournaments, children’s sports, and sporting events such as the 1980 Alberta Winter Games and the 1995 Canada Winter Games. A number of Paul’s photographs are being used in various projects around the City to celebrate the 100th Anniversary.
Thank you, Paul, for being a part of this community and helping us remember it by giving us a permanent record that will continue into the future. We will miss you.
This is the link to the Panda Camera fonds here at the Archives.