Javier Gonzalez

@javi_glz | @IGAustinTexas

CITIES: Born in Altamira, Tamaulipas Mexico, Raised in Prospect Heights, Illinois & Currently in Austin

ETHNICITY/RACE: "LatinX"

EDUCATION: "I graduated from Texas State University in May of 2014 with a BFA in Photography."

FAVORITE IG ACCOUNT: "There’s a few @IGAustinTexas of course followed by @Pursuitofportraits, @postthepeople, @friendsinmyfeed, @InstagramTexas oh and @lellopepper who's been a constant source of Inspiration. I’d say you just have to follow the community hubs in Texas to get more acquainted with the different cities. Checkout @IgHouston @InstaDFW @IgSanAntonio and @IgSanmarcos for a real look into Texas."

FAVORITE SONG: "Favorite song at the moment would have to be I Dare You by The XX. It has a very calming tune carried away by soothing pair of voices that just make me feel haha."


WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

"My story begins at the age of two when my mother and I immigrated to the city of Chicago to live with my Father who resided in the states. From that point on until the age of sixteen, I only knew two places: the Northern suburbs of Chicago and my grandmother’s ranch in Mexico (that we visited annually).

Texas was a large place we drove through to get to Mexico and never did it cross my mind that this diverse and beautiful state would soon be my home. On one of our trips down south we stopped in Austin and met up with some relatives who had recently moved there and just loved it. The weather was hot, the skies were blue, and summer was in full swing. We visited for a few days and did all the touristy things and well, I haven't left since. 

I attended and graduated Texas State University with a BFA in Photography. I had decided to chase my dreams and to follow my interest. Photography had always been a hobby of mine since high school but it wasn’t initially something that I could see myself pursuing as a career. I grew up drawing and was very creative, but the uncertainty of being able to hold a creative career drove me to follow what I thought was a more secure career path as a dentist.  However, after taking a few science courses and hearing words of encouragement from my Ma, I decided to drop my pre-dental college path to take a riskier approach and to pursue a career as a photographer and artist.  

Since then Life has been surprisingly beautiful, exciting, and at times a difficult journey. After graduating college. I became really active on Instagram, sharing my photography as I continued to explore the medium and used the social platform as a way to engage with locals and other creatives from Texas and across the world. I became very active in the Instagram community in Texas, attending Instameets organized by community accounts all across the state. 

I was inspired by attending these events where other photographers got together to explore Texas, photography, and build friendships. When I searched on Instagram I found that Austin surprisingly had no active community accounts so I took it upon myself to start IgAustinTexas. IgAustinTexas is a Instagram community account dedicated to highlighting our local creatives and fostering community building through Instameets. 

Since the launch (2 years ago), the account holds a total of 10K followers and is still growing. Shortly after the launch of IgAustinTexas, I became a suggested user by Instagram and was spotlighted for my work and involvement within the Instagram community. This drove my account followers to numbers I had never dreamt of. I had heard of such thing before and knew of people that hoped and really worked towards that, but for me it was just about sharing my art and connecting with other people who enjoyed photography and even inspiring others to start taking photos. 

Filled with excitement and joy, I began to connect with followers from other parts of the world, was approached for more paid opportunities, and entered the social media influencer world. I had the great opportunity to be part of the Find Your Park Expedition, organized by the National Parks Foundation and the National Park Service. For the span of a week I along with 7 other diverse millennial influencers from across the country were able to visit the Mesa Verde National Park and The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. All while sharing our experience with our audience in hopes of inspiring the next generation of park goers to take interest in the National Parks. Especially those people who are of diverse backgrounds that could relate to us. For me, it was a great experience and drew me closer to this beautiful country that I live in. 

From that experience on I have been part of several national and International social media campaigns for a number of clients and have been able to support and continue to pursue my career as a photographer. As life goes on, I am excited to see what lies ahead for me and to continue to meet new peeps through the gram."

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WHAT'S YOUR PURPOSE?

“I’m not quite sure I have figured out my purpose just yet. I enjoy photography and bringing people together but I’m still figuring it out. I constantly put myself in places that align with what I like to do or things that interest me, and so far that approach has helped get to where I am today. "

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST HARDSHIP YOU'VE FACED?

"Time, it’s everything and nothing at the same time. I often get caught up with work and life that I lose track of it. It’s hard to get a good life work balance, but I’m working on it. Aside from working as a Freelance photographer I work for Apple full-time. So it can get interesting to say the least, but it’s fun. 

WHAT'S YOUR CONSTANT MOTIVATION & WHERE DOES IT ROOT FROM?

"My motivation comes from all around me, but much of it is rooted in family. Growing up, I was always motivated by my hard working parents who with very little English and only a grade school education have come so far. They always looked forward and have earned everything they have today by working hard and bringing a lot of ganas to move forward. Due to their sacrifices and dedication I now have a better life and am able to pursue my dreams. The least I can do, in my eyes, is to keep moving forward and to make them proud."

WHAT'S SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE WOULDN'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

"People often describe me as calm and collected."

IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE DEAD OR ALIVE WHO WOULD IT BE?

"I’ve would of liked to have met and observed Ansel Adams. I’m very fascinated by his images of National Parks. Watching him for a full day as he worked to captured some breathing views from Yosemite would be amazing."