George S. “Skip” Gandy IV grew up on Davis Islands in Tampa, Florida. After attending the University of South Florida and transferring to Emory University, from which he graduated with a BA in Economics and a minor in Physics, in 1965. Gandy joined the US Coast Guard during the Vietnam War. After graduating from Officer Candidate School in Yorktown, Virginia, Gandy served as an executive officer on several ships patrolling in the Caribbean. When the war ended, Gandy returned to the Tampa Bay area and started working in the family business as a photographer with his father, Sandy Gandy III, a noted photographer with the St. Petersburg Times and other local newspapers. Gandy started the Tampa Flying Service and became a prominent aerial and watercraft photographer. Gandy’s work has been published in several prominent magazines, including Popular Mechanics, Motorboat, and Sailing. From the 1970s until his retirement in 2007, Gandy also regularly flew aerial photography used by several environmental agencies such as the Bay Study Group and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program to monitor the condition of Hillsborough Bay.
In this interview, Gandy discusses his childhood on Davis Islands and the Gandy family’s history in the Tampa Bay area. Gandy describes his family’s roles as famous builders of the Gandy Bridge, commodores at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, and founders of the Havana Race. He describes the innovative photographic techniques and ingenious hardware he used to document the development of the Tampa Bay area from the 1960s to 2007. Throughout the interview, Gandy provides his perspective on how the Tampa Bay area has changed during his lifetime and describes the impact of dredging and pollution on the local aquatic environment.