Whether it is a beloved milestone like a high school graduation, or a tragedy such as the tangled mess that occurs at an accident scene, Xavier “J” Garcia is there. The freelance photographer was honored by Pleasanton City Manager Bruce Pearson, at the July 18 regular council meeting. Garcia won awards at both the 2013 and 2012 State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas Photo Contest. This year he won both Best in Show and second place. The awards were announced at the association’s annual convention.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the work our public safety personnel do and the sacrifices they make. They work nights, during all hours and holidays,” said Pearson, describing police officers and firefighters.
“The support they receive from council gives them the resources to do their jobs. I don’t think that we really know or understand sometimes, the depth of their sacrifice. Tonight we have an insight into this. Mr. Xavier Garcia, takes a lot of photos of emergency situations around the county.”
Pearson then welcomed his uncle Donovan Garcia in the audience. He passed the special plaques around so that council could see them up close.
Garcia was able to capture just what emergency crews go through.
“If he didn’t capture that, I don’t know what does. That’s Mr. Trini Bosquez, one of our firemen (in the photo). Best in Show, that means best in Texas, bottom line. Thanks, Xavier, for detailing what these men and women go through,” said Pearson.
For his second place photo of a fire in Poteet, Pearson said, “It exhibits the magnitude of what all of our folks go through when they go to a structure fire. Xavier, I’m sure the council, citizens and volunteer fire departments appreciate everything you do, but to be recognized at the state level is almost unprecedented. As a volunteer firefighter, I congratulate you. Thank you.”
Garcia said when he first got his hands on a camera he was really young, about 10-years old. He learned everything about the trade from his dad, photographer Jack Garcia of Jourdanton.
Garcia’s Facebook page, The Front Page has 951 “likes.” It features hundreds of striking images of local athletes at track meets, softball games, soccer games, basketball games and football games.
Of course, it also features impressive photographs of brush fires, structure fires and more. Those who know Garcia know that he especially loves covering disasters. He said the secret to a good photo is timing.
So how is he able to photograph events like a fatality that would be difficult to face for most people? He does it by being able to separate himself.
“Since I’m behind the lens, I see it as a barrier. I’m just there to do the job. The lens is my shield,” said Garcia.