This article first appeared in the fourth issue of the Oracle Volume 2020-21
Photos of friends, family, shoes, bikes and scenery have all made their way onto Jonathan Galindo’s Instagram account, @jonathanphotos. When people started asking for photoshoots, Galindo realized he could start charging for his photography and then moved on to the gig scene.
After showing his photographs to local artists during his first year, Galindo shot his first two concerts at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco.
He quickly moved on from photographing local artists to more famous artists, like Blueface, a well-known rapper. While filming one of the opening acts of Blueface’s concert, Galindo was able to film Blueface’s performance.
“For this to be my third gig, I was super excited,” Galindo said.
After building that reputation, Galindo was able to secure positions in even more gigs, filming artists like Wifisfuneral and Blackbear.
Galindo learned video editing by making concert recaps, videos he made for small artists that showed them waving the crowd. He made his first music video for an artist who had liked his recaps.
One of Galindo’s clips for an artist called JAKOBI had 2,000 views in the first few weeks.
“I didn’t even reach out my hand anymore. People started contacting me and offering me money,” Galindo said.
Galindo’s most successful video, for Doeboy Meegz, has a total of 60,000 views.
Galindo said he particularly enjoyed directing the music video, Bleed Em, by East Palo Alto artist Lul Fredo. It was shot at a block party celebrating the artist’s cousin, who had just been drafted into the NFL.
Galindo enjoyed documenting so many people, many of whom reposted it or watched the video saying “Did the cameraman catch me? Did they catch me dancing? Gallindo said.
“It was just super fun and cool to see him explode and see him gradually grow,” Galindo said.
Galindo’s style of videography is what he calls “runnin’ and gunnin'” – not staged, just picking a location and shooting.
“We used the street of their local childhood home or we used their garage or their basement or we used their homemade studio or just outside their parking lot,” Galindo said.
Most of the artists Galindo has worked with never worked with another videographer afterwards.
“They come back to the youngest, because there are a lot of people doing that,” Galindo said. “They’re 20-25, they’ve been in the game for a long time, and I was 17-16 at the time and they chose to come and work with me.”
Back to its roots
In September, Galindo and his mother both contracted COVID-19 and his mother was hospitalized. Although she had improved, Galindo was afraid of almost losing her.
“Once you reflect and are grateful for what you have, you realize that you could have documented that person more and you would have liked to be with that person more,” Galindo said. “And what better than photos and videos to remember someone? »
When his mother caught COVID-19, Galindo realized that back in his days shooting music videos and concerts, he had forgotten how he started: taking pictures of his family. Since then, Galindo has started taking more pictures of his family again.
“I’m going back to my roots, I’m going back to how I started,” Galindo said.
His photography started with his father. According to Galindo, his father used to take pictures of Galindo and his cousins and relatives. Albums full of photos. But after his death when Galindo was 12, no one took pictures anymore.
Now Galindo said he carries his camera everywhere he goes, snapping photos at family gatherings and when hanging out with friends.
“I want my photos to look like my dad’s photos because they were raw. They were in the moment,” Galindo said, “There was happiness in those photos, there was sadness in those photos, and he wasn’t a photographer but he was just there to document.”
Galindo said his father used to help unite the two sides of the family. After his death, Galindo said he tried to reunite the family. He learned how sharing photos and videos can let go of grudges between family members.
“They totally forget why we started meeting and getting to know each other, why were we together and why did we hang out,” Galindo said. “Images and videos allow you to relive those moments.”
After his mother caught COVID-19, Galindo wanted to change his job to reflect how he started.
“I try to go back and be as raw as possible,” Galindo said. He dropped his logo, “Not the Same”, and said he wanted his job to be about documenting rather than creating a brand.
Galindo also started working full-time through Option B. He said he could finally do videography for free.
For Galindo, photography and videography have always been about documenting moments with friends and family, something that doesn’t require a career.
“If you just hang out with your friends and bring your camera after you eat a burrito or whatever and you go to the roof of CVS and start taking pictures, that’s documentation,” said Galindo.
“You can’t get enough of these moments,” Galindo said.
Last year, Galindo’s friend died in a car accident. Galindo said he wished he had taken more photos of him.
“Because you’re caught up in the moment — and that’s cool, that’s awesome and all — but you’d like something to remember that person,” Galindo said.
Now Galindo is trying to take his camera with him more, capturing photos of people around him.
“Even if they’re doing something, I just ‘click’ to take a picture, and they hear the shutter and they turn around and they’re like, ‘What are you doing?!’ and then I’m like, ‘I’m just taking a picture,’” Galindo said.