When José was 10, he carried his shoeshine box into the building of the Arizona Daily Star. After that night, he was a permanent fixture in the newsroom. He bought a camera at a pawn shop in high school and inspired by his mentors at the paper, went on to major in journalism at the University of Arizona. Upon graduation he became a staff photographer at the Star. No matter what his assignments were early on, José always focused his lens on the barrios of Tucson - his home - and the people who lived, worked, and loved there. He had his first professional exhibition when he was just 22 years old. At about the same time, José's participation in the Chicano Movement led him to see his work as more than a passion: he had a responsibility to capture the history of his people.
A Pulitzer Prize for Mexican-American journalists
Galvez moved on to the Los Angeles Times, becoming the first Mexican-American photographer on staff. In 1984, he was on a team of reporters and photographers that won a Pulitzer Prize for a series on Latino life in southern California: the first Chicanos to win the Prize. He left the Times in 1992 after winning many other awards for his photographs.
The work goes on: books, exhibits, grants & studies
Galvez was an editor of and contributor to Americanos. He’s collaborated with writers such as Luis Alberto Urrea and Patricia Martin. He published his own childhood stories in Shine Boy. His current work focuses on Latino communities of the American South, naturalization ceremonies, and documenting the many communities he visits every year.