Tampa was incorporated in 1849, but for a long time was overlooked or considered a town with dubious morals—a town for mobsters or corrupt politicians. In spite of these unfortunately accurate accusations, Tampa grew, and as it grew changes took place. From the 1940s, when Santo Trafficante Sr. and Charlie Wall battled for control of Tampa’s underworld, to the present, when Bill Gates and Jeff Vinik are investing in Tampa’s growth, the everyday citizens have been part of the transformation.
The Skip Gandy Commercial and Aerial Photography Collection captures images people, events and buildings during the 1950s through 2000s—the transformative years of Tampa’s turn around. As the son of a professional photographer, George S. “Skip” Gandy developed an innate sense of how to tell stories through pictures. Through the Tampa Flying Service, which he started, Gandy developed innovative techniques for shooting pictures from watercraft and aircraft, becoming a prominent photographer whose work was featured in several magazines such as Popular Mechanics, Motorboat, and Sailing.
Looking through the images in this collection tells the story of Tampa’s past through the lens of a man who knew how to capture it.