Stories by

Lynda Gonzalez

By Caitly Reynoso

When Lynda Gonzalez walks around Austin, Texas, she searches for inspiration while always remaining curious about her surroundings. As a visual storyteller, she has found walking around her community helps sustain her creativity — without distractions like headphones.

“I’m motivated by the lack of representation of minority and female voices in the photojournalism industry,” Lynda, 29, said. “But I’m also driven by the stories that remain untold as a consequence of this.”

As a Mexican-American, Lynda knows that the immigrant experience in the United States can vary based on factors like cultural background, age or whether a person is a first-generation immigrant. Because of this, Lynda said she strives to capture the richness of this spectrum through her work as a photojournalist.

Despite being born near the United States-Mexican border, in Weslaco, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, Lynda was raised in a small, predominantly white community in Central Texas. The experience made her wonder what it would have been like to grow up in a community that shared her family’s heritage, she said.

After graduating from the University of Texas in 2012, Lynda returned to the valley as a high school teacher through Teach for America. She spent four years teaching photography, journalism and creative writing. Aside from teaching, Lynda also founded and advised a competitive newspaper and yearbook publications program.

Lynda was passionate about teaching, she said. “I learned about the history of our nation’s borders through the personal narratives that my students shared with me,” she said.

Her experience as a teacher compelled her to pursue a dual master’s degree program in journalism and Latin American studies at the University of Texas, from which she will graduate during the institute.

During her time at UT Austin, Lynda realized that her passion and talents lay in visual storytelling, specifically through photojournalism and still photography. She continues to be driven by telling the stories most important to the Latino community, having grown up in mixed spaces.

“Because of my own life experiences being a Latina in a white community, as well as in the borderlands, I’m also interested in using photojournalism to explore the nuance of how Latino identities are shaped in different contexts throughout the U.S.,” Lynda said.

Photo by Jason Armond/NYT Institute

Yordy, de 16 años, fue empujada al estado de adulto después de emigrar de Guatemala. Fue separado de su madre, y Yordy se hizo responsable de su hermano de 6 años. Aún así, solo es un adolescente, con su celular siempre en la mano.

Yordy, 16, was thrust into adulthood after migrating from Guatemala. He was separated from his mother, and his 6-year-old brother became his responsibility. Still, he’s just a teenager, his cellphone always in his hand.