Pantera, Nirvana Photog Joe Giron Shooting 2013 WSOP Europe

Joe in Russia 1991
Joe Giron circa 1991 Russia.

Before working in poker Joe Giron photographed bands including Pantera and Nirvana and now he'll be shooting the 2013 WSOP Europe for

Working in partnership with the World Series of Poker, will provide the official live coverage for WSOP Europe.

We're proud to announce Joe Giron will be responsible for all official photography.

“Being around poker players is kind of like being around successful musicians because the ego is there, the bankroll is there and you're dealing with some really interesting characters and personalities,” Giron told

“For me the essence is going beyond the basic poker-face photography and capturing images that tell a story about what these players are going through to become champions, or the dejection of getting so close and falling short.”

From High-School Yearbook to Music to Poker

Giron was first introduced to photography taking pictures for his high-school yearbook and that interest propelled him into a photojournalism program at the University of Ohio.

After graduating Giron moved to a position at the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas and quickly began snapping up every music gig he could get his hands on.

“No one else on the staff really cared about going to see the latest Twisted Sister show or whatever, so I was shooting as much music stuff as I could and working on a portfolio to start showing magazines,” explained Giron.

This was in the mid 1980s and it was on a vacation to the UK that he caught his first break.

Dime and Joe 2
Giron with Pantera.

“I had always wanted to visit London and I was very enamored with a British rock music magazine called Kerrang!” said Giron.

“They had some of the best rock photography I had ever seen. The stuff in America at the time was okay but the images they were publishing in this magazine were really cool.

“So I took my little portfolio to Kerrang! and they said it looked great and if anything came up near where I lived I should give them a call.”

The following spring in 1986 Van Halen kicked off its latest tour with brand-new singer Sammy Hagar. The first stop was in Shreveport, Louisiana and Giron landed a freelance gig shooting it for the magazine.

“It pretty much just snow-balled from there,” said Giron.

In 1988 Giron quit his job at the newspaper and began freelancing in the music industry full time. He moved to San Francisco and ultimately came to rest in Los Angeles.

Joe Giron: Fifth Member of Pantera

Giron says the thing he's most proud of in photography is chronicling the career of the band Pantera.

Dime and Joe
Giron with Dimebag Darrell.

“I shot one of their local shows,” said Giron. “The images ended up in the newspaper and the guys from the band loved what they saw.

“We started up a personal and working relationship, eventually they signed a major deal and I was basically there for the entire ride of their career until Dime (Pantera lead guitarist Dimebag Darrell) was murdered in 2004.”

Giron is releasing a book covering Pantera's career in photos coming out next year with MTV publishing.

“I lived and breathed that world with Pantera and they called me the fifth member because I was so much in the inner circle and they trusted me enough to confide in me and photograph them when they were in their rock personas or just a quiet moment when they were being themselves.”

Poker and Music Not So Different

In 2005 the World Poker Tour started publishing a magazine and needed a photographer to follow the tour. Giron was recommended by a few of the music publications he had done work for and got his first job in poker shooting the WPT event at Bellagio in Las Vegas in 2005..

will molson and father
Capturing the emotion in poker.

“I draw really heavily on my photojournalism background when I'm telling the story of a poker tournament,” explained Giron.

“The most important thing for me is capturing that raw emotion and when people are playing for millions of dollars they're definitely showing that emotion.

“The photo that stands out for me was at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure High Roller. Will Molson had finished runner-up the two previous years and that year he came back and won. His dad was on the rail and he ran over and hugged him.”

In less than two weeks Giron will be joining the team for the first time and will be responsible for telling the story of the 2013 World Series of Poker Europe.

While the rest of the team might be moaning about the long work days, according to Giron he sees things a little differently.

“It might be a cliché but since I'm doing what I dreamed of doing as a kid, I don't feel like I've ever worked a day in my life.”

Check out everything Joe Giron and the team will be doing in Paris on our WSOP Europe 2013 Live Coverage page.

See more of Joe Giron's work at Joe Giron Photography.

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