How about a list of some great drag racing photogs ... incomplete, to say
the least, and not in any particular order:
Leslie Lovett: Always near, if not at the top, of every list. From
a historical and artistic standpoint, Les was able to do things that nobody
else could access, especially at national events.
Jim Kelly: Some classic stuff, especially the early funny car
stuff back East that helped popularize the class with the match race
coverage in Super Stock.
Steve Reyes: Certainly my pick, but I knew him better than any of
the others because I worked with him so much. As Bob Snayko has pointed out,
Steve was the most intuitive guy out there for action coverage ... he seemed
to always be at the right place for the shot more consistently than anyone
Jere Alhadeff: Among the best of the technical photogs out there,
probably the best "track photographer" of all time (with apologies
to our friend John Ewald). Also, the best in the darkroom ... a big part of
getting those images out.
Don Green: Not the best known guy around, but did some great stuff
for a while as the top drag racing guy for Car Craft. Also, was the guy who
pushed me for the Cutaway of the Month deal, so he got special consideration
Mike Mitchell / Ron Lahr: No, not the same guys, but I believe
they were cousins. These guys were combining to do
some great race coverage right around the time I started, and were doing the
stuff I aspired to. It was classic coverage in Drag Digest to see the
Alhadeff-Mitchell-Lahr photography of a race in Southern
Jon Asher: Better known as a writer, but probably seen by more
people than any drag racing photog in history, and a very accomplished
Bob McClurg: Another long-time photog and writer. Has shot some
great stuff over the years, and is among the more consistent out there.
Eric Richman: One of the best of the early guys, and out there
doing the Hot Rod coverage when everyone else was doing snapshot stuff.
Bob D'Olivo: The head of the Petersen Photographic group, this guy
has produced some classic old drag racing images. Richman and D'Olivo made
the images of the drags during the '50s and early '60s.
Max Maxwell: Now among the more collectible of old drag racing
prints, Max used to sell the most vibrantly colored wallet sized prints at
the SoCal tracks. He shot a Hasselblad with the 500mm lens, using twin
Ultrablitz Matador strobes, so he got some of the brightest colors ever on
drag racing photography. Gorgeous stuff.
Jeff Tinsley: Jeff was one of the East Coast guys who did quite a
bit of stuff on the match race circuit. Filled in some great history during
that time, and still shoots occasionally today.
Rich Brady: Now senior photog for National Dragster, Rich has been
doing this stuff for many years, and is another top guy who has had some
tremendous imagery over the years.
I know that I am leaving a bunch of guys off, but I would welcome any
reminders of the all-stars in the field. I know that there are a bunch of
other guys who had impact on the sport, including John Ewald, John
Shanks, Ron Lewis, not to forget Bill Turney, Bob
Snayko or Pete Garramone, our own brothers of the 1320. I would
just rank the above guys as my own personal all-stars ... but I could always
(Note: As anyone who has seen Tom's work knows, Tom West definitely
belongs on this list himself! bp)