William ‘Bill’ Cancellare, Sr., the iconic travel industry photographer, died Sunday, May 12, 2013, following complications from a recent heart attack. He was 76.
There is no other photographer in the world that has captured, not only the photos of the people that populate the travel industry, but the hearts of thousands that have worked with him or have had their pictures taken over the years.
Cancellare built up a dynasty in travel industry news and events photography, following in his father’s footsteps and subsequently handed down the company to his son, Bill Cancellare, Jr. who continues in the business today.
The company, News Events Photo Service, was launched 90 years ago by Bill’s father Joseph T. Cancellare in 1923. It serviced all travel suppliers, tour operators, tourist offices, travel agent associations, cruise lines, hotels, public relations firms and both travel trade and consumer magazines.
Bill Cancellare, Sr., who later became known as “Bill Senior,” could be seen with his camera perched on his stomach at every major travel industry conference and event. Everyone hired him because he knew everyone and was able to get all the right people into the right photos and send them to the trade publications for coverage. He also knew who to keep apart so as not to create controversies, a unique talent that was widely appreciated.
Bill was a staple on the decks of the cruise lines in New York in the 1960s, 70s and 80s including the former Home Lines where he regularly photographed celebrities before they sailed to Bermuda. His brother, Joseph G. Cancellare moved to Florida to launch a branch of the company in the heart of the growing cruise business down there. His company flourished in South Florida and was continued by his two sons Joe Jr. and Tom.
Bill Cancellare, Sr. did more than just take pictures. He got involved. He knew everyone and therefore was able to help people network together. He also had the ability to take someone who was camera shy and make them feel comfortable.
The editors of the trade press also relied on Cancellare to get them photos and captions of events that were taking place and have them mailed in time for deadlines. They knew that his photos would be reliable and also knew that each publication would have a different version of the event in photo form so as not to be repetitive of each other.
Reporters often found themselves traveling to conferences with “Bill Senior” and finding that he not only took photos, but had insights and often scoops about stories that were about to happen. He was a confidant and friend to many of the top industry executives. He was a trusted soul that not only took pictures, but saw into the hearts of those that he knew so well.
Many of in the industry traveled the world with “Bill Senior” and those of us in the travel writing and public relations fields will miss his affable smile and knowing secrets.
He is survived by his son, Bill Cancellare, Jr., his daughter Denise Cancellare, his granddaughter Deanna and a huge family of cousins, nephews and friends around the world.
Funeral arrangements are at Lieber Funeral Home at 266 North Central Avenue, Valley Stream, NY 11580, telephone 516-825-2900. The family will be receiving guests there on Tuesday May 14 and Wednesday May 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and again from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. both days. There will be a Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church at 201 North Central Avenue, Valley Stream, NY 11580 on Thursday May 16.