Gandy Digitization Project: Completing 100 Years of Tampa Photography

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George “Skip” Gandy IV, 1942-2020, captured images of a Tampa Bay very much in transition. In 2012, Gandy donated over 80,000 images to Special Collections as photographic negatives, slides, and prints. A small sample of 218 of these have been reformatted and made available online, but the bulk of the collection remains in their physical formats, creating challenges for researchers. The collection highlights the environment, commerce, and aerial photographs. You can browse themes in the collection finding aid. 

Tampa skyline at night
Downtown Tampa skyline at night, circa 1970s-1980s. Gandy Collection of Aerial and Commercial Photography.

The images in the collection complement other prominent Special Collections, including the Burgert Brothers Collection of Tampa Photographs and the Robertson and Fresh Collection of Tampa Photographs. By making the Gandy Collection available online and openly accessible through a Creative Commons license granted by the family, USF Libraries’ Digital Collections will showcase over 100 years of Tampa Bay history.

About Skip Gandy 

Boy riding bicycle through storm water through commercial street.
A boy rides his bike through storm water, circa 1970s. Gandy Collection of Aerial and Commercial Photography.

Gandy was born in Tampa in 1942. Beginning in the early 1970s, Gandy followed in his father’s footsteps as a commercial photographer with an eye on capturing the culture of Florida. With an innovative gyroscope-mounted camera in the belly of his plane, Gandy was able to take perfectly level aerial photos depicting urban and natural scenes. The negatives represent the bulk of his work as a photographer before retiring in 2010. The collection captures more than forty years of Tampa Bay history through a period of great transformation and growth. Throughout Skip’s prolific career, the population of Tampa alone more than doubled from less than a million residents to nearly 2.5 million. 


Florida Studies Curator Andy Huse interviewed Gandy shortly before his death in 2020, and prepared two exhibits highlighting his work and art. You can learn more from the The Photography of George “Skip” Gandy  and the Bearing Witness from Above exhibits. 

Publix display circa 1960s
Publix display, circa 1960s. Gandy Collection of Aerial and Commercial Photography.

Digitization Project and Archives Awareness Week Event 

In 2023, USF Libraries’ will be digitizing the remainder of the collection and curating significant images for online display. The collections will be hosted in Digital Commons at USF, with a special exhibit to highlight the Gandy Collection. Browse the demo exhibit here. 

To learn more about the history of Tampa through photography, check out the Archives Awareness Week 2023 presentation from our Gandy project partner and donor, Chip Weiner. This event will be July 14, 2023 at the Tampa Bay History Center. Register here.

Gandy HerdfunderInterested in contributing to this project? To donate to the digitization project, check out the Skip Gandy Herdfunder.

The project has been featured in the Tampa Bay Times. View the story, here.


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