For a dozen years in the late 1940s and 1950s, the people of Pinellas County saw their community through the lenses of a photojournalist named Bob Preston.
As a photographer, reporter and editor for the St. Petersburg Times and the Evening Independent, Preston covered big stories and small slices of life. Murders and a manhunt. Traffic jams, cold waves, fires and a raid on an illegal casino. Children at play and a mother duck crossing a busy street, 10 little ducklings in tow.
Some of his photos ended up in national publications like Life and Look magazines. Some were picked up by the Associated Press and United Press International and appeared in newspapers around the world.
By the time he retired in 1982, Preston had worked at six newspapers and a television station as a photographer, reporter, columnist and editor. Even in retirement, he continued to follow the news closely. When he died in 2007, there was a stack of magazines and newspapers nearby, says his daughter, Patricia Preston Warren. "He was the ultimate newsman."
Warren, a photographer like her father, has assembled 55 of his photos and mementos of his career for an exhibit that opens Friday at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg. The exhibit also features three dozen photographs by Warren. On Aug. 1, the Preston photos go on display at the St. Petersburg Museum of History.