Diane Moca Finding your passion, well, that's cliche, but developing your passion, that can be life changing. And that's what's happening for Marshall Garcia. He's here with us. He's a high school student. He's using photography to see past the challenging circumstances of life. And he's joining us on our entrepreneur learning series today. For the Creator Economy, I'm Diane Moca. I'm a reporter at Talk Lab. I'm with Jimi Allen, our CEO. And we want to start at the beginning before the camera. Marshall, what was going on in your life two years ago before you even picked up a camera?
Speaker 2 I was into boxing, but I also love skating, so I would do both. Before I would go to practice, I would go and I would skate around and then I would go home and change, get ready and go to boxing.
Diane Moca Okay. So, were you feeling good in life? Were there lots of good things happening or were there challenging circumstances?
Speaker 2 There was a lot, which was at a certain time, I had just got my license to fight for USA Boxing. And I had gotten my license from them to go fight and then COVID ended up happening and I never got to fight.
Diane Moca So, you had disappointment?
Speaker 2 Yeah.
Diane Moca So, how did photography come into your life?
Speaker 2 Oh, so I have a friend named Nathan, and he would skate with me. And I would always see him and he would skate, and then one day he asked me, he was like, "Oh, you want to go take pictures with me? I'm going to go skating. Let's go skate downtown, we'll take pictures." And he ended up taking pictures of me as we were skating. And I just saw the pictures that he posted on Instagram and I liked it. And it took me a while for me to pick up a camera because I didn't know where to find one.
Diane Moca How'd you get one?
Speaker 2 Through Premo. They had an extra camera that I could use. And I ended up picking up and learning how to use it.
Diane Moca And this isn't just a phone camera. This is a camera with a lot of settings and all of that. Was it intimidating at first or did you just dive right in?
Speaker 2 I just went straight for it. The second day using the camera, I went to my niece's birthday and I took pictures for them and it came out really good. And so, I kept taking pictures after that.
Diane Moca Did you feel like there was a new world opened up to you?
Speaker 2 Yeah, it was something new. I'm a person who likes to dive into new things. Even if I don't end up liking it, at least I tried it. So, I know if I would've liked it or not.
Diane Moca Now, Jimi ended up as a mentor. How did that happen, Jimi?
Jimi Allen I think the first time I saw you shooting was we were out in front of the building, we were cutting down the awning and doing some construction. And I think the first time we talked, the sparks were flying and we started talking about how to capture that.
Speaker 2 The shutter speed had to slow it down to get that. I still have those pictures.
Jimi Allen Yeah. Yeah. So, we connected on that and I think you then started asking or you were here and shooting more. I forget when I first realized what were the first images I saw, where I saw just your eye, but you had more of a passion for it than anything else, which is how you get started. And then we started looking at your images and said, "Wow, Marshall's got a great eye."
Diane Moca And you decided you wanted him to be around here, around your company. That's very valuable to you. And to have him take on some responsibilities for your company, that's a big leap. How did that happen?
Jimi Allen I think just the way we connected as guys talking about things. I don't know there was some trips or something we did that connected us, and it was more about just looking at your images early on. And then once we got going with that, it was like, "Hey, you've got the summer. What if you could intern, shooting?" And I think you just started making images and you went on some commercial projects, shot some things for us. And it was very apparent right away that you had, again, just the talent to do it.
Diane Moca Marshall, do you think your life went in a different direction after you picked up a camera and after Jimi started giving you opportunities to use it in a professional way?
Speaker 2 Yeah, it was different than I was used to. I was never put in a situation where I learned something, but it was also giving me feedback at the same time, or giving me knowledge, or it was getting me places. The other things that I was doing wasn't getting me as far as photography has got me now.
Diane Moca And how much support did you have for that at home? What were things going on? I mean, it's up to you, how personal you want to get, but there's a lot of people out there that might be able to relate to your story and some of the things you faced.
Speaker 2 With my mom, I don't really talk to her about what I do, but she knows I do do photography, but she doesn't know how far I'm taking it. She just knows that I go and I go do little jobs and little shoots for people. And my dad, he knows I take pictures and he would always try to help me find jobs and opportunities to go shoot.
Diane Moca So, you're now doing a gallery show here. You arranged for that to happen?
Jimi Allen Yeah.
Diane Moca Why was that important?
Jimi Allen And as we're sitting here talking, I'm thinking about the first time we looked at your first edit was of a wedding, or you were going to shoot a wedding. And I said, "Hey, if you shoot the wedding, I'll help you put a portfolio together. And then you could charge for shooting weddings if you had an interest in that." So, that's really where it started. And again, I think everything Marshall... Obviously, everything he does, he's talented at skating. He's taking welding now, he's very interested in that. The other, I think it was a couple Saturdays ago, we went over to weld something and we have both have an interest in that.
So, I think it's the fact that we both have a lot of interest that tie together, but you can't train somebody as a photographer if they don't have an eye. I think it's a lot easier if somebody already has the skill set to kind of look at things, be in situations and all the stuff that you do. And you've been shooting bands, you shoot the skate scene, you shoot your friends. So, he is observing all of that and he's engaged in it. He isn't out needing to look for things to photograph, he's just involved in it. So, I think it was a very natural thing. That same thing with me, I was interested in things and I wanted to photograph them. So, I think I see a lot of myself in the way that Marshall sees the world. Yeah.
Diane Moca And what do you think of this gallery show that's coming up. It's going to feature your photos. It's going to feature photos of other aspiring photographers and videographers.
Speaker 2 Well, I want to see the photography scene here in Aurora, because I have not seen that many young photographers my age. And I do see them at my school because I take photography, but I really don't get to see their images. So, I'm sure if some of them enter the contest, I'm waiting to see their images. I want to see them.
Jimi Allen I think the connection here is to show off what his talent is. And when he told me that his mom and brother were going to be at the show, I thought, "Wow, that is the point, right?" Because I remember when I was starting out and my parents didn't think that photography was something realistic for me to do. And I didn't make that connection until you shared that with me the other day. I was really surprised when you said, "Hey, if they come, that's going to really show them the involvement." And it does take time to slow down. When we were at the last gallery show we did here and we saw Scott Serzani slow down and share his images. That's going to be powerful for you. I think that's super exciting to just get you to unpack what you're seeing around the world and how legitimately viable that is as a career. I mean, you could totally do that. You've got the skills to do it.
Diane Moca What is it about photography, as we wrap up, that makes you just see things that maybe you think others don't?
Speaker 2 I don't know. It just capturing a moment knowing you won't ever see it again. It's being able to look back at the memory. It's like looking back at baby pictures, you won't see them ever again, if you don't have them. It's something that if it's an image you want to have for memory. I get a lot of... I do a lot of street photography. I don't like setting up shoots. And when I do that, I know I'm catching a moment or a moment that I've saw that no one else saw, but I got it on camera. It's something special to know that you're the one who capture that moment. Yeah.
Diane Moca And it's great that you're going to share that. And we want to invite you to come out to this gallery show. It's Thursday, September 29th at 6:00 PM right here at Bureau Gravity in Aurora, Illinois. You can meet Marshall, hear more about his story. See all the work that Jimi Allen is doing here in Aurora. And we can get a chance to meet you as well. And we appreciate you coming every week to see the Creator Economy entrepreneur learning series. Thank you, Marshall. Thank you Jimi. And thanks to you. For Talking Cities, I'm Diane Moca.
Young Photographer Marshall Garcia Remembers Picking up Camera for the First Time
Marshall Garcia, Bureau Gravity’s featured artist at the What Matters Photo & Video Gallery & Contest, talks about the first time he picked up a camera. With the help of Bureau Gravity’s founder and CEO Jimi Allen, Marshall has learned new techniques to enhance his craft. Come see the showcase this Thursday, September 29th.