Facing the Firing Squad: Joe Giron
MEET JOE GIRON
Joe Giron might be the hardest-working man in poker that few people ever see. That’s because he’s always “behind the camera” — literally.
He’s been covering poker’s biggest events for more than a decade, spending night and day staking out the tables to find the perfect shot to capture that glorious moment of ecstasy or the agony of crushing disappointment. Getting that perfect image within the frame of the lens might take minutes or hours to set up. Like a hunter seeking its prey. Giron waits. He waits as long as it takes. Then, he pounces and snaps an image for posterity at just the right instant.
What many people might not know about Giron is his remarkable personal and professional background, not just as a photojournalist for many newspapers and online publications over the past 35 years, but also as our eyes into the world of the music scene, which is one of his many passions. As for technique, Giron might try to blend in and not get noticed, but his work has become so respected and his professionalism so admired in various circles that he’s gained the trust and admiration of poker players, musicians, fellow journalists — and most of all hundreds of thousands of readers and viewers who can feel as though they are there in the moment, all because of one or more of Giron’s photographs.
His biography reads as follows:
Joe Giron is a freelance photojournalist who specializes in the poker industry. He photographs major poker tournaments and events for the World Series of Poker, The World Poker Tour and Pokerstars.
He was born in Las Cruces, NM, in 1960, where he lived with his maternal grandparents, Ralph and Siria Giron, and his mother, Frances Sanchez. Early in high school, he met a photographer attending New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. This photographer mentored and inspired his interest in photography and making photojournalism a career choice. By the end of high school, Joe was doing “stringing” work for the Albuquerque Journal and the Associated Press. He graduated high school in 1978.
He attended NMSU for two years and continued to be published regionally in the Journal, the El Paso Times and the Las Cruces Sun-News before transferring to the high-powered photojournalism program at Ohio University in Athens, OH, for the fall quarter 1980.
He served internships during his college years in such places as San Angelo, TX, Fort Myers, FL, Missoula, MT and Tucson, AZ, where he gained valuable work experience working for newspapers in those communities.
In December 1982, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication.
He was a newspaper staff photographer in Fort Worth, TX, and Tacoma, WA, from 1983-1988. At the Star-Telegram, he photographed an up and coming local band, Pantera, for a features assignment. That assignment brought him and the band together and formed a 20-year professional and personal relationship that allowed Giron the opportunity to document the band’s musical career. Giron will publish a photographic, coffee table book about the band containing his imagery in September 2016.
From 1889-2005, he was a full time, freelance photographer in the music industry, photographing bands such as the aforementioned Pantera, Nirvana, No Doubt, Green Day, Pearl Jam & Eminem for various record companies and music magazines from around the world. That work can be seen at
In late 2005, he received an email from a magazine art director wanting to know if he could photograph poker tournaments for the about to be released World Poker Tour magazine. Not knowing a thing about poker, he jumped at the opportunity for a new challenge. Drawing upon his photojournalistic, newspaper skills, he documented the action at the WPT Five Diamond event at the Bellagio in December 2005. That “trial” assignment landed him the gig for the WPT magazine and cemented his place in this new, niche industry, where he has continued to flourish to this day. His work in the poker world can be seen at
He was recently recognized by the industry, winning an American Poker Awards “Poker Media Content of the Year” award in February 2016 for his photograph of poker superstar Daniel Negreanu falling to the floor after busting out of the 2015 WSOP Main Event in 11th place.
He currently lives in Las Vegas, NV, with his wife Sandra and their two dogs.
Follow Joe Giron on Twitter at: @JoeGironPhoto
JOE GIRON FACES THE FIRING SQUAD:
What are some of the things you stand for?
Integrity, Honesty, Hard Work, Mexican Food.
What are some of the things you stand against?
Copyright infringement, Stupidity, Flakiness, Beets.
What living person do you admire the most, and why?
President Obama. In the face of the shit show he has faced from his detractors who have tried to de-legitimize his presidency, he has kept his cool and worked hard to accomplish as much as possible.
What historical figure do you admire the most, and why?
Robert Kennedy…He seemed to be bothered by the direction of the country in 1968 and was mobilizing to do something about it when he was assassinated. I would have liked to see what the country would have been like had he been elected President.
What living person do you despise?
If money were not an object, what profession would you chose?
Movie/TV Location Scout
What is it about yourself that you are most proud of?
Being successful in two separate niche photographic industries, music and poker.
What is it about yourself that you’d like to change?
My selfishness…comes from being an only child
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?
Touring the world with various rock bands between 1987-2005
What’s the most unusual time and place you’ve ever visited?
Mexico City 1985 covering the earthquake there for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Only time in my life I thought I was going to die during a big aftershock (magnitude 7.5).
Name a place you’ve never visited where you still want to go.
Vietnam or the Seychelles
Favorite book, favorite movie, and favorite musician.
Money Ball, Casablanca, Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy
What upsets you the most?
What bores you?
Do you believe in an afterlife and why do you believe it so?
No. I don’t believe in religion.