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William Anthony: Drag Race Photography

PIR Drag Races on Film: A Return to Analog Still Photography

INSTAGRAM: @wmanthonyphoto, @wm_analog

Portland-based commercial and editorial photographer William Anthony was looking for a personal project. This summer, it found him. While visiting a classic car show at the Portland International Raceway, William heard the roar of dragsters on the nearby strip and was drawn to it like a moth to the flame. Here he discovered a subculture hiding in plain sight. Every Wednesday night in Summer, PIR hosts E.T. (or “Elapsed Time”) drag racing of NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) dragsters. From under 18 junior-class racers to tricked out top alcohol burning supercars, locals from the Portland/Vancouver area congregate every week to race not so much against each other, but against time. 

Having recently rebuilt his darkroom after 15 years in storage, William chose to shoot this all on black and white film with two cameras, developing it all himself. What he discovered by returning to his roots as a film photographer after a 12 year career shooting mostly digital is that it is a completely different kind of shooting. It’s a slower, more throughtful, precise type of photography that caters to a slower process and deeper observation. 

William will be discussing the challenges, benefits, techniques and revelations of photographing this niche that is indifferent to being “cool" or mainstream—only fast. 

William Anthony is a an award-winning commercial and editorial photographer based in Portland. OR. A former advertising art director, William’s work strives to honor the deeper stories and concepts he shoots both for himself or while on commission. For the past 12 years, his career has spanned genres such as advertising, photojournalism, portraiture/lifestyle, travel and social media (whatever that means). While proficient in all new digital technologies, his skillset is deeply rooted in the fundamentals of analog film photography. 

William has shot for clients such as Alaska Airlines, BMW Motorcycles, Microsoft, Nike, The North Face, and Starbucks. 

William lives with his wife in NE Portland and works full-time as servant for two cats he’d much prefer were dogs. When not shooting pictures for a living, he likes to spend his spare time shooting more pictures.