John Pendygraft - Photographer


I was born in El Paso, Texas, and could sing the complete theme to the 60's Spider-Man cartoon series as a preschooler. For better or worse, something stuck and I became a photojournalist. I have been at the Tampa Bay Times since 1997. When I started in Pasco County, it was a world of film, 60's Spidey-style. Since then my job has evolved from international work, to enterprise reporter, to multimedia enterprise reporter. In 2017-2018, I completed a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and am pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of South Florida.

  1. Staci Plonsky holds art from her autistic son, A.J. Plonsky, depicting his memory of being taken by the school resource officer to a mental health facility under Florida's Baker Act law. The incident took place on A.J's first day of middle school. Photo taken November 17, 2019.
    A mental health law is being used more frequently across Florida on children who are not mentally ill.
  2. Ann Corzo and her son Kristopher.
    Parents share stories about Baker Act experiences and how they affected their families.
  3. “When I hit my low points in life, I go the graveyard,” says Mary Jane Taylor, 18, at Oaklawn Cemetery in downtown Tampa last week. “Do I want to leave this earth being another transgender woman that was . . . not taken seriously?” 
  4. Pamela Block, 53, gives her dog Mishu a kiss as Anna Block, 11, (right) and Lily Block, 9, (rear left) get ready for School Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Anna was born with Bladder Exstrophy Syndrome. Her bladder was inside out and poked out of her belly. Since being adopted by Block in 2009, she has had two corrective surgeries. Lilly, who adopted by Block in 2008, was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a cardiac abnormality. Recent genetic tests have begun to explain a host of subtle symptoms; she runs out of breath quickly, has low muscle tone, always seems to have headaches and stomach aches. ?ˆš’When we leave the house, as far as the neighbors are concerned, we look like a family without a care. Because the kids are so outgoing and have these great personalities, our struggles are pretty much silent. But medical issues and medical appointments define our lives. When most kids are going to camps for vacation, we?ˆš•re going to hospitals,?ˆš“ Block says.
  5. The Mosley Motel has filed for bankruptcy, and stakes are high for three-year-old Lawrence E Pratt (left), his sister McKenzie Bell, 10, (right) and all the families that live there. Altis Cardinal Storage of Miami owns the Skyline Fifth apartment complex, which neighbors the Mosley. They are the hotel's main creditor and recently filed an emergency motion to prohibit the motel's use of cash collateral. The Mosley could close and all it's impoverished residents will have to find new homes.
  6. Willie Hairston, 29, gets his three youngest children, Avery, 1, Madison, 3, and Aiden, 2, ready for the ride to day care with the help of their mom, Zeneta Jackson, 37, while Trinity, 4. Aliajh, 8, and Zeneta’s mother are on the porch.
  7. Adán Martinez, 16, tries a cello at Violin Shop Tampa after a reader and the shop pledged $3,000 to help him add the second instrument he needs to qualify for the Juilliard music school in New York.
  8. JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times
  9. Ad?n Martinez, 16, busks with his viola — named Lamar — to help raise money to pay for the instrument, which he is paying off in monthly installments of $109 for two years.