Jacob Gonzalez was handed his first camera on a family trip to England in 2007. Today, Gonzalez continues to pursue his passion for photography and has been granted several opportunities in the field of sports photography.
Gonzalez, junior photography major, started playing sports at a young age and since then, his interest in sports only continued to grow. During his junior year of high school, Gonzalez shot photos for his school yearbook.
“I basically took all the pictures in the yearbook, including sports,” Gonzalez said. “I liked shooting sports because I grew up playing. It’s cool to capture a moment of a game and basically have front row seats to each game I shoot.”
During his freshman year at California Baptist University, Gonzalez approached Athletics and inquired about shooting photos for sporting events. After Athletics saw his portfolios, he was hired and began shooting photos.
Samantha Sheppard, director of sports information, said that Gonzalez has been a huge asset to the athletics page.
“Over the past two years of having Jacob on staff, he’s continued to impress me,” Sheppard said. “He has an eye for capturing awesome action shots, but also for other shots you might not even think you needed. His passion is conveyed through his pictures.”
Gonzalez’s portfolio has a wide variety of sports photos, including landscapes and portraits. Gonzalez shot several events, including the USA Track and Field Championships, held in his hometown of Sacramento, as well as minor league baseball, Sacramento Republic, Gatorade’s “Be Like Mike” campaign, and more recently, the Special Olympics.
After representatives from Toyota saw the work on his Instagram, Gonzalez received an email from Toyota at the end of April in 2014 about the idea of sending him to the Special Olympics.
Although Gonzalez was only at the Special Olympics for half of the week, he said the experience was one to remember.
“The opening ceremony was awesome,” he said. “All the athletes came in for fireworks and a great show. I had the opportunity to roam freely and shoot where I wanted.”
As the games started, Gonzalez had to navigate between two venues, the Colosseum and the Los Angeles Convention Center, to shoot photos of the USA athletes and tell their stories.
“All of the athletes weren’t there to win,” he said. “They celebrated the fact that they could compete. The support in the stands was incredible.”
Currently, Gonzalez works not only for the CBU athletics, but California Polytechnic University as well as Riverside City College, shooting photos for a multitude of sporting events. Gonzalez said he
owes a lot of his exposure to Instagram.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without Instagram,” he said. “Ultimately, I’d like to end up shootin with a professional team and be their team photographer, or work for Sports Illustrated. I want to keep going to events and take pictures.”