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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

A List of Great Drag Racing Photographers

By Tom West

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 else.

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 from me.

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 California.

Jon Asher: Better known as a writer, but probably seen by more people than any drag racing photog in history, and a very accomplished lensman.

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 be wrong.

Tom West

(Note: As anyone who has seen Tom's work knows, Tom West definitely belongs on this list himself! bp)


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