Track photographer John Pantalone dies
« Return to News
John Pantalone, founder of World Wide Racing Photos, the track photographer presently at Harrah’s Philadelphia and Freehold and previously for most of the Delaware Valley racetracks, passed away on Friday morning at age 76 after a gradually-debilitating illness.
Pantalone graduated South Philadelphia High School, and received further training in electrical engineering through ROTC. He was laid off at the Boeing aircraft manufacturing plant in suburban Philadelphia in 1972, and with a friend began a photography business; one of his first clients was Liberty Bell Park, which led to the development of World Wide Racing Photos (WWRP), which he operated with his beloved wife Pat, who survives.
Pantalone’s WWRP was the track photographer at Brandywine, Liberty Bell, Garden State, Freehold, and Harrah’s Philadelphia. The firm acquired a reputation for quick and quality development and production of track photography, to the point that at one point WWRP processed the photography for a dozen racetracks, including as far away as Golden Bear (Sacramento) in California.
WWRP and Pantalone were at the forefront of several of the innovative changeovers in the racetrack photography industry through the years – the shifting from black / white to color photography and the change from film to digital photography being the two foremost examples. John’s innovative mind brought about the start of the many of the oversize “tribute” photos that owners purchased to mark especially big wins with their horses. He and his firm were known for timely and courteous service, always willing to go “the extra mile” for their clients.
In 1988 WWRP received Nike Photo Award for a special effects photo taken at Garden State Park. Garden State was also the scene of one of John’s favorite racetrack memories, when in 1992 a campaign bus carrying President hopeful Bill Clinton stopped for a rally at the track, and the future President got in a winner’s circle photo with “his namesake,” Bubba Clinton, with Pantalone one of the few photographers authorized to record the event.
On March 1, 2018, the Post Time with Mike and Mike podcast hosted an interview with Pantalone, which can be found online (https://extra.betamerica.com/post-time-w-mike-mike-harness-show-3118/).
Funeral arrangements were not finalized at press time. Terranova Funeral Home of Haddon Heights NJ (terranovafuneralhome.com) will be handling these arrangements, and updates can be found on their website as they become available.--By Gerry Connors