upper waypoint

Jordan Jimenez’s Path to Viral Photos Has Been Years in the Making

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

a young man wears a black hoodie that reads "Jsquared Photo Deptartment"
A Jordan Jimenez fan wears his Jsquared Visuals hoodie at Ciel Creative Spaces in Berkeley. (Alan Chazaro)

Growing up, Jordan Jimenez told his mom that he hoped to make history as a Filipino American player in the NBA. And though he didn’t achieve that lofty goal, the 25-year-old, born and raised in the Bay Area, has still managed to turn himself into one of the sport’s premier shooters — with an assist from his camera.

On Friday, Jan. 6, Jimenez celebrated his inspiring journey as a photographer with As Told By, his pop-up exhibit at Ciel Creative Spaces in Berkeley. The one-night event featured over 260 photos that Jimenez has taken since bursting onto the scene in 2018, when he first launched his brand, Jsquared Visuals. The diverse collection of photographs — which largely centers around basketball celebrities, but also features musical artists and his travels abroad — was the photographer’s debut show, something he is openly grateful about.

“I started out by shooting high school games and even fourth graders in the community,” he says. “I went through seven years worth of hard drives for this gallery. I wanted people to see that. I didn’t always work with the Warriors. After I dropped out [from college], I photographed lots of other things before I got to this point.”

An uncanny sense of timing

After hustling as a freelance photographer since the age of 17 — working with SLAM Magazine, Under Armour and other notable NBA brands — Jimenez left the University of San Francisco to pursue his independent creative passion. Since then, he has befriended some of the most influential athletes in basketball, including his biggest collaborative teammate: Golden State Warriors shooting guard, Jordan Poole.

a wall of photos, featuring Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors
The largest display featured Jordan Poole’s highlights from his career with the Warriors. (Alan Chazaro)

The two met in 2019 at an invitational game on the Peninsula, when Poole was still a relatively unknown rookie training with athletes like former Warrior Juan Toscano-Anderson. Jimenez and Poole bonded over video games and music interests, and it’s been a Poole Party ever since. They’ve taken thousands of big-time shots for Dub Nation together, with Poole on the court and Jimenez off, as Poole’s personal photographer and friend. Jimenez has made plenty of big splashes during that run.

Sponsored

The internet-breaking photograph of Steph Curry looking away from his imminent three-pointer while teammates and defenders stare at the rim? That was Jimenez. A close-up of Gary Payton II cradling the NBA championship trophy with a cigar dangling from his mouth? Jimenez, too. What about Jordan Poole’s buzzer-beating heave from half court to change the tides of that Finals series against Boston? Yup, “You Know Who Shot It.” All were on view at Ciel Creative Spaces last Friday.

With an uncanny sense of timing and a humble, almost quiet approach to photography that allows him to capture his subjects in their biggest, most human moments, Jimenez has naturally become a star on social media among his fans and community.

Jimenez intentionally kept everything free, even providing food and drinks for guests. Sharing his work with his audience without the intent of turning a profit is a big point for Jimenez, who wants his recreational work to remain accessible to all.

“I don’t really see many Filipinos in media, so his work immediately resonated with me,” says Ralph Antonio, a 23-year-old student at San Francisco State University who was at the show to see Jimenez’s work up close. “As a Warriors fan, his photos capture the team in a way that people can gather around. That’s special. Being a young Filipino from the Bay, he inspired me for sure.”

‘A win for the village’

Jimenez has already built an impressive portfolio of high-profile clients, including generational hoopers like Steph Curry, Sabrina Ionescu and Zion Williamson, as well as entertainers like P-Lo, Rick Ross and Wiz Khalifa. But working with celebrities hasn’t changed who he is; his success has only motivated him to create more opportunities for his community.

local photographer, Jordan Jimenez, stands in front of his basketball portraits, with his family by his side
Jordan Jimenez is joined by his family at his debut photography exhibit, “As Told By.” (Alan Chazaro)

In that spirit, Jimenez has collaborated with local, Filipino-owned streetwear companies like Collect and Select. The underground purveyors were on deck at the exhibition with a merch booth to premiere a limited-edition design: a pair of mint-green shorts with white trim and a late-90s Warriors thunderbolt streaking down the sides. The design is reminiscent of Jimenez’s youth, when his mom would take him to Oracle Arena, formerly known The Arena in Oakland, to see the Warriors play (with Thunder, their mascot from 1997–2007).

“We drove from San Bruno and took him to his first game at Oracle in third grade for his birthday,” Lisa Rome, Jimenez’s mother, tells me. “He was so hyper to see the mascot, Thunder. It’s amazing to see where he is now and still loving basketball.”

Perhaps what most stood out at Jimenez’s function — in addition to the impressive range of basketball memories he has documented — is the tangible love and inspiration expressed among his family and network of friends and supporters. Hundreds of fans and fellow creatives from around the Bay were in attendance, including Joe Wallace, a San Francisco-based designer; Anthony Presents, creator of Lumpia Lands; and various members of the niche brand, Who Cares Supply Co.

“It’s a win for the village,” Jimenez says.

Telling stories of joy

The event, which took four months to plan, lasted only six hours. But the good vibes and celebratory atmosphere are something Jimenez wants to recreate.

“I want to do it again, but it’ll be a much more focused gallery, not seven years of work,” he laughs. “I want to keep the ‘As Told By’ theme. It was a beautiful moment, having the community together. It’s hard to get everyone in one room. Taking a step back and seeing my big family help me put the photos up and be there, that was a highlight.”

a group of viewers mingle at a photography gallery
A crowd of friends, fans and family gather for Jordan Jimenez’s pop-up gallery in Berkeley. (Alan Chazaro)

When I ask him about his favorite photo on display, he pointed to one of Poole celebrating a hard-earned championship.

“I know how much work it took for him to get there. He has worked so hard,” says Jimenez. “For him to celebrate that, for our families, with all the people who counted him out. To see him on a boat in Italy after winning a championship, that was a highlight.”

In many ways, the photo captures Jimenez’s belief in collective growth and communal success — and the stories of joy he plans to continue telling with his camera. Until his next big gathering, he’ll be in the gym, doing what he has loved since he was a kid: taking shots.

Sponsored

Jsquared covers home games for the Golden State Warriors throughout the season. His photographs are available in his online shop. Stay tuned for a future ‘As Told By’ pop-up event.

lower waypoint
next waypoint
Kehlani, E-40, P-Lo to Celebrate Golden State Valkyries at SF Block Party10 Free Concerts Not to Miss in the Bay Area This Summer8 Refreshing Bay Area Boba Shops to Help Beat the Summer HeatA Battle Between Science and Religion, With Galileo Caught in the MiddleAmid Upheaval, a New CEO Steps in at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts8 Bay Area Animal Adventures to Make Your Summer More WildBay Area Music Festivals and Outdoor Concerts for Summer 2024Seals, Foraging and Buffalo Soft Serve: 5 NorCal Summer Day TripsThe San Francisco Couple Whose Lifelong Love Changed AmericaThe Return of East Oakland’s Menudo King