Some pictures you need no explanation for, they just speak to you and move you in ways you can't really describe. If the story gets told to you by the artist it's the added bonus. I feel Like Garcia captures every moment perfectly and it brings you right to that time and place. Story telling in one photo is some of the hardest things to do and Garcia does it masterfully. I remember the first time I ever saw his imagery. The wife and I were in Philly and our friend Rob said "Dude we should go to The Garage bar and see this photo show by Garcia, you will love it." Man did I ever. I think I sat there and stared for a good 20 minutes or more and went back a handful of times to look some more while everyone drank. That was the first time I met Garcia. When I asked to buy one of his prints, he asked me "Do you want to hear the story behind this shot, why did you pick this one?" It was this amazing connection with the piece and he gave me the run down on it even though he didn't have to. Over the past few years we have talked more and more at shows when in passing and I am glad to call him a friend of mine. With so much talent behind the lens and overall one of the nicest, most humble dudes you will ever meet, I am extremely excited to say Garcia will be in person to represent his work at Fuel Cleveland on May 9th. Here is a little one on one we did the other day, Enjoy!
G: I’ve been living in Philadelphia, PA for the past five years but Texas will always be home.
Why only the one name, Garcia? Just something everyone has always called you and it stuck or is there significance behind it?
G: Ha. It’s not that interesting. I was posting photos on a blog around 2009-2010 and wasn’t using a watermark. Those photos started getting poached and posted on other sites without credit so I figured I should start using one. I was in law school at the time and didn’t want to use my name because I thought it would affect me professionally as I interviewed for jobs/internships. Potential employers Google you if you didn’t already know. I wanted to use something kind of common and not outwardly connected to me. ‘Garcia’ is my mother’s family name, which is the family I grew up with in South Texas, so I have a genuine personal connection to it. But it isn’t the name on my resume. Anyway, it’s what I started putting on my photos at the time, and later, for shows and publications. Which is not where I expected this photography thing to go at all. I don’t work in law but I’m still using it because it’s the name associated with all of my photos and it kind of stuck.
When did a camera first find you?
G: Disposable cameras as a kid. Family vacations in Mexico. Then a Basic Photography class in high school. Nothing serious but I learned the mechanics of a camera. Later, I quit college to work as a field archaeologist for a few years and volunteered to be the project photographer. It was a task no one else wanted because it meant carrying extra pieces of equipment. I spent a lot of time trying to make trees, critters, and holes in the ground look interesting. After that, I occasionally played around with old film cameras and iPhones before finally getting a digital camera in 2010.
Can you explain your love for motorcycles and how they came to be a big part of your life?
G: Old motorcycles are just cool. No explanation necessary.
What is something you have always wanted to do and haven’t done yet?
G: Oh man, lots of things. I guess something motorcycle related off the top of my head would be to just putt around Europe on my bike in the summertime.
If you could jump on a bike right now and just go, where would it be and why?
G: Right now? It’s winter on the East Coast so I’d probably head southwest. Texas to visit friends and family. And to eat.
What is your camera preference, Canon, Nikon, or something completely different?
G: I don’t know. I currently use a Panasonic Lumix GF1 because it’s small and has a fast lens. I lose it a lot so maybe I should get something bigger.
What is one of the craziest moments or stories from your travels over the years?
G: Crazy is relative. I have a lot of stories. Ask me in person.
You have this really natural eye and approach to your photography, is it something you learned on the fly by yourself or from school?
G: Thank you. I didn’t go to art or photography school so maybe I picked up some skill along the way. I actively work at composing the images as I’m shooting instead of heavy cropping later on. And I get lucky occasionally.
Do you have any big projects in the works you can talk about? I’d really love to see a book from you in the near future, any thoughts on that?
G: Nothing really. My photo work has slowed down this past year but I hope to get some new stuff in 2015. Maybe a project will find me.
With the chopper/motorcycle scene growing a lot in the past few years, and more and more people creating events, art, and new innovations by themselves with that whole DIY mentality attitude. What are your feelings on the ever growing scene?
G: I think it’s great. Just wish I had more time to make it to more events. I’ll be at Giddy Ups in Texas again this year. Then Cleveland, which is new for me, and I might be down in North Carolina sometime this summer.
Who and/or what motivates and inspires you?
G: People who do what they want to and don’t look back. In a good way. People who do things just to see if they can.
What bike and or event has been your favorite to shoot?
G: Jeremiah’s Love Cycles Anniversary parties. El Forastero MC 50th Anniversary. The early Brooklyn Invitationals.
What is your all time dream motorcycle if you could have it or do you already?
G: The one that gets me where I’m going. Being on any bike is fun.
What kind a bike do you own or are building currently?
G: I have a ’63 panhead built by Jeremiah at Love Cycles and painted by Max Schaaf. And a stock ‘70 BMW R60/5. I have some junk laying around to put a bike together if I ever get another motor. And trans. And drive. And on and on.
Any life mottos or codes you live by?
G: No. Additional rules are unnecessary.
What other things do you love too other than just motorcycles and photography?
G: Too many things. Nothing I want to elaborate on. But I will say that motorcycles and photography have brought a lot of genuinely cool, creative, and powerful people into my life and I love that more than either.
Are you a dry rub or extra saucy chicken wing kind of guy?
G: Did someone tell you that I’m into wings? I can go either way so long as they’re done right. What’s the wing scene like in Cleveland? You got a spot?
Hahah, I like to ask dumb questions sometimes. Just made it up but that's pretty rad haha. We have a few local bars and a pizza place by my house that I really dig their wings. Remind me if you are hungry I'll take you to one.
Anyone you want to give a shout out to or thank?
G: Wow. So many friends have helped me along the way. I owe a lot of beers to a lot of people. This list would be too long for that so I’ll just say Thank You to everyone who has ever shared a beer with me, let me shoot their bikes, published my photos, invited me into their homes, bought a print from me, ridden a motorcycle with me, given me a fake job, exhibited my photos, visited me in Philadelphia, camped out with me, helped keep my bike running, liked any of my photos on Instagram, picked me up from an airport, loaned me a bike, or supported me in any other way. I appreciate it. And thank you, Mike, for inviting me to be a part of your show. See y’all in Cleveland!