Welcome to our twenty-ninth Bergen County Camera Customer Spotlight. This monthly posting features a customer who’s made an impression on us. They might have grown in their understanding of photography, gained a mastery of the craft and / or have become a strong advocate of our way of doing business in the world of photography. During the next month you will see this customer’s images displayed on our digital signs in store, in our emails, blog posts and social media.
John Gonzalez is our customer spotlight for the month of February. We hope you both enjoy and are inspired by this new addition to In Focus and look forward to your comments and suggestions. Below you will find a word from John, followed by some of his images in the gallery below.
I have been fascinated with photography pretty much since I was in high school. For some reason I was always drawn to a camera so one day my parents purchased a 35mm film camera for me. I remember it like if it was yesterday, a shiny new Canon EOS RT. After high school I attended college locally at William Paterson University and although my major and career were not still photography (it was Communication) I took the opportunity to take a few photography classes where amongst other things I learned darkroom techniques. To this day the smell of vinegar takes me back to the fondest memories in the darkroom. For those that have been in the darkroom you know what I mean. I drove my parents crazy setting up a makeshift darkroom in the laundry room where I learned to process and print everything from B&W to C41 and E6. Since high school I had already been working in the business as a news photojournalist (video) for Cablevision. Towards the middle of my college tenure I then began working for the major television networks in NY. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot hard news with the very best talent in the industry alongside my still photography peers (more on that later) for NBC, Telemundo, Univision, MSG Network, and Cablevision.
While shooting news video professionally I continued to shoot stills as a hobby. I’ve shot everything from family photos, landscapes, wildlife, kids sports, and finally street photography. In the end street photography has really been my passion. I just like to capture people within their environment at a given time. At first it was tough getting close to a stranger to snap their pictures, so I was shooting street with a very long lens. This just did not cut it, so I finally went the opposite extreme and started shooting with a 16mm prime, in their face, no questions asked Bruce Gilden style! I really took Robert Capa’s “If your pictures are not good enough, you’re not close enough” to heart. I quickly came to realize that shooting strangers with a rather large and noisy 1 Series Canon Camera drew attention that I did not want. I made the fatal to my wallet 😊 mistake of talking with Bob about Leica! I had always wanted a Leica since I was in high school but no way that I could afford it at the time. I picked up an M6 from Bergen County Camera along with a 28mm Sumicron and I was hooked. This fed the addiction and I now have a small collection of Leica from film to digital old to new all from BCC.
I have purchased a lot of new cameras throughout my life, proud to say most from Bergen County Camera, but I also enjoy browsing the used section as well. Remember those still photographers that I worked alongside early in my career? I was always fascinated with their Canon F1s and Nikon F3s, fast motor drives and bright strobes. Lately, I have been drawn to collecting cameras that news photojournalists have used. From early Graflex Crown Graphics, Nikon Fs and Leica M3 used during the Vietnam War, Nikon F3s, F4s, F5s, Leica M3, M6, MP, and Canon F1 to name a few… Yes my name is John and I have a problem or a “mini BCC” at home. To me I get as much of a kick from using the gear as I do from taking the shot and although they are my collection, I use every single camera.
Today, I am trying to pass on this tradition to both of my kids and although they both have digital cameras from BCC, notice the trend, I have also purchased film cameras for them as well. You must learn to walk before you can run. In a world where we have a lot of on-line purchasing options I always strive to purchase locally. In the end it’s the service and friendship that matters most above all else. Bergen County Camera is simply much more than a camera store to me.
Keep Shooting and ALWAYS have a camera with you!