Bob Moreland was an award-winning staff photographer who worked for the St. Petersburg Times from 1949 to 1992. The text below comes from his March 20, 2002 obituary. Below that you will find a sampling pulled from the 11,000 or so Bob Moreland images we have in our archives.
“Probably his most famous picture is of an alligator with its mouth wide open next to a “No Swimming” sign at Homosassa Springs. Working at the time under contract for the attraction, he was showing a Life photographer around when he saw the gator attack the sign and snapped the shot. “I got four frames, and the Life guy got off a couple,” he once recalled, but it was Mr. Moreland’s that the attraction owners chose for postcards and posters. For the Times, he covered yacht races that began in St. Petersburg and ended in Havana. He and other photographers covered the first space shots. Film had to be processed in the car on the way back from Cape Canaveral. He photographed Dwight Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson, Robert A. Taft, John Kennedy, Estes Kefauver and Richard Nixon. “I almost got trampled to death shooting Nixon,” he recalled. “I tripped and fell, and people just kept coming.” His work appeared in Life and in other publications, including Sports Illustrated. Since childhood, he dreamed of taking pictures for a newspaper. When he was in grade school in Youngstown, Ohio, he built a darkroom under the stairs in his family home. On weekends he carried the camera bag of a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photographer on assignments. As a young World War II Navy veteran he got his start as a news photographer in St. Petersburg. In 1949, he won a Times snapshot prize of $5 and went to the newspaper office looking for an opening. “Tom Harris (then executive editor of the Times) told me twice to go away because he was too busy,” Mr. Moreland recalled in 1992, “so I went back at 2 a.m. after they put the paper to bed and got the job.” That job was as a part-time darkroom technician. He became full-time the next year. Promoted to photographer in 1952, he began to win prizes. The Florida West Coast Press Photographers Association twice named him photographer of the year. In 1957, he won first place in the National Press Photographers Association - Encyclopaedia Britannica Contest. It was for a shot of Presley, who performed in the Tampa Bay area.”