Gabriel Gonzalez is a hard-working independent photographer who is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at Cal State Long Beach for photography.
Gonzalez, 26, was attending Fullerton College initially as a kinesiology major, however, when it was time for him to take art to fulfill his general education requirements, he stumbled across photography. He has stuck with it the subject ever since.
“After taking the [PHOT] 111 class I thought, ‘This is pretty cool.’ And my professor believed I could do it. So why not? I liked it, so I decided to keep going. That’s how it went down,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez claims that Tony Maher, former professor of photography at Fullerton College, was a big contributor to him pursuing the subject as a career path.
“For Gabe, and many other students like him, the photograph became that voice he needed to express ideas and thoughts that were otherwise overlooked by others. It was through the act of making images about himself and his life that Gabe was able to bring up conversations about social issues that many of his classmates could relate to as well,” said Maher as he reflected on his former student.
The young photographer has confirmed that the art has given him a creative outlet that he felt was missing in his life prior.
Chow Time is an ongoing project that Gabriel has been working on. The project features human subjects as they eat.
“It’s one of those things that are so weird to look at because when we’re eating, nobody thinks about what we look like,” Gonzalez explained.
Gregory Crewdson is an American photographer, professor of photography at Yale School of Art, and a huge inspiration for Gabriel Gonzalez to continue with the art.
“His works can transport you to a different realm and gives me this eerie sense of serenity that I don’t really experience with other photographers. It’s not to say other photographers are bad but I just really admire Crewdson,” Gonzalez said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave hit, Gonzalez explained that, as an artist, he found it to be discouraging due to lack of resources and subject matter. However, since then he has found a way to create while restricted.
“Because I primarily shoot on film, I had to buy the materials (for film development) and process on my own. It’s not that it’s difficult, but buying everything all at once can be expensive, so it depleted most of my funds. I didn’t have much gas money afterward to go shoot, so I decided to bite the bullet and go out walking. It (COVID-19) started out discouraging but it allowed me to take photos of local places I enjoy while they were empty,” Gonzalez stated.
The artist then explained another work of his titled Non-Essential Entertainment, which is inspired by a separate passion of his: bowling. The project features photos taken in bowling alleys and stemmed from the idea that COVID-19 had deemed the sport as “non-essential.”
“Bowling has been such a large part of my life for the last 16 years. I started to bowl when I was 10, but I had to put it on hold because of school. I had been meaning to get back to it but COVID happened. It made me sad that it was keeping me from it something else I love to do,” Gonzalez explained.
The way he was feeling about being distanced from his passions aligned perfectly with the early COVID-19 climate, so he felt that combining the two and creating the series made sense. This ended up helping him overcome the negative emotions he had and is proof that his photography is his “voice.”
A short-term goal for Gonzalez would be to submit his work to art galleries to establish himself further as an artist. While working towards that, he also has a longer-term goal in mind.
“I just want rich people to buy my work and hang it up in their house,” Gonzalez said, half-jokingly.
Gabriel Gonzalez plans to work relentlessly towards these goals of his, amongst others to have his ideal career as a photographer. To see more of his work and follow him on his creative journey, visit his website.