2014 in review / by Guillermo Hernandez Martinez

Victoria East High School starters stand around the pitcher's mound during the playing of the national anthem previous to their UIL 4A state championship game against Aledo High School played on June 6, 2014 at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas. Aledo shut out Victoria East 4-0 and thus earned the school's first-ever baseball championship. Guillermo Hernandez Martinez for 1st Photo Texas

This year has been the most important in my life yet. Not only did I grow by leaps and bounds professionally, but also made life-changing decisions that have resulted in incredible joy and happiness.

Not to say that this year wasn't trying, mainly thanks to the U.S. immigration bureaucracy, reaaaally close calls with possible jobs and, perhaps most annoyingly, non-paying clients (looking at you Maxavenue).

I can definitely say I am a more professional, happier, and overall nicer person to be around than I was at the end of 2013, and I hope to be able to say that again this time next year.

CC Sabathia (52) of the New York Yankees heads back to the dugout as his evening ends in the fourth inning of the Yankees' game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 4, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, N.Y.
Sabathia, who started the game, allowed 5 runs, all earned, in 10 hits, including one home run by Wil Myers in the third inning. (Guillermo Hernandez Martinez for Sports Illustrated)

My year started with a full-time grown up job at Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine, helping in all kinds of photo department work and, best of all, doing some sports shooting. While being surrounded by the best in the business was an inspiring experience, I felt like New York was not the place for me at that point in my life, so I decided to move back to Texas in order to shoot full-time and try to make it as a photographer. Thankfully, the relationships I made during my time in NYC have carried on, and have led to some Texas shoots for the magazine:

Josh Doctson takes a knee after catching one of Trevone Boykin's four touchdown passes during the Horned Frogs' 55-3 dismantling of Iowa State during the last game of the regular season on Dec. 6 in Fort Worth, Texas. With the victory, Doctson and TCU secured a share of the Big XII conference championship, but were still left out of the inaugural College Football Playoffs by the selection committee. (Guillermo Hernandez Martinez for Sports Illustrated)

As I moved back to Austin and started my career as a freelancer, I was able to enjoy some really fun assignments; I attended my fourth Republic of Texas biker rally in a row, hung out with Austin-born NFL stars, shot people taking selfies with Real Madrid players, explored the small towns around Austin and much more. It gave me a taste of the fun that freelancing can be, but it also was a rude awakening to the economics of our business.

NFL free agent Chris Houston (left), former UNT wide receiver Sam Roberson (middle) and Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin share a laugh during lunch break of the annual youth football camp hosted by Houston and Griffin at Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Austin, Texas on June 21, 2014. (Guillermo Hernandez Martinez for the Austin American-Statesman)

Robert Boehnlein of Columbus, Ga. stands outside Bat Bar in the Sixth Street entertainment district in downtown Austin, Texas during the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally weekend on June 13, 2014. Around thirty thousand people attended the festival, and a considerable number of them spent their Friday night in the famous bar district. (Guillermo Hernandez Martinez)

April Rankin of The Rankin Twins performs during an iHeartRadio-sponsored show at The Belmont in Austin, Texas on July 15, 2014. (Guillermo Hernandez Martinez)

One of the many fans who stormed the pitch during the last minutes of the International Champions Cup match between Real Madrid and AS Roma poses for a selfie with Real Madrid's Isco on July 29, 2014 at The Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Game action was stopped for over five minutes as security forces struggled to gain control of the situation.

Downtown Smithville, Texas. July 2014. (Guillermo Hernandez Martinez)

The most important part of my photographic 2014 was When In Texas, a crazy personal project in which I decided to drive 7500 miles around the Lone Star State shooting high school football, and which I finished by following Mason High School players, and twin brothers, Luis and Miguel Castillo as they prepared to play in the 2A UIL State Championship Game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The project is currently on its final edit, and my hope is to publish a book of the work in 2015.

Jayton Jaybirds Freshman Judd Latham sits in the Jaybirds locker room before the start of their bi-district playoff game against the Guthrie Jaguars on Nov. 14, 2014. The Jaguars lived up to their billing as state champion contenders and beat the Jaybirds 84-34.
Guthrie and Jayton play six-man football, a variety reserved for the smallest schools in the state, which often do not have the enrollment to field a full 11-man team.

Odessa Permian Senior wide receiver Taylor Thompson (12), junior defensive lineman Aaron Briswalter (55) and sophomore offensive lineman Jayce Rush (64) celebrate among teammates and cheerleaders after the Panthers defeated their archrival Midland Lee 45-28 on Oct. 10, 2014 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas.
Known popularly as "Mojo" after the chant started in the late 1960's, Permian counts itself as one of the elite programs in the state, with six state titles at the state's highest classification, seven undefeated seasons, close to 500 wins and two national championships to boast about.

Denison linebackers warm up in front of a burning sky prior to the Yellow Jackets' annual rivalry game against Sherman High School on Oct. 17, 2014 in Denison, Texas.
The Denison-Sherman annual rivalry game, known as "The Battle of the Axe," is the longest continuously played rivalry game in the state of Texas, dating back to 1901. The winner of the annual game takes possession of an axe-shaped trophy which has the scores of every game engraved in its blade.
During this year's edition of "The Battle of the Axe," Denison dominated Sherman 42-20 on their way to picking up the school's 40th rivalry win and keep the axe in Denison for the second year in a row.

Most importantly, my 2014 was about family. I spent a week in Kentucky with Margery Baldwin and her family, shared the Castillo family's life in Mason, my mother and brother visited for Christmas and, most significant of all, I started my own family by marrying a wonderful woman: Danielle Begnaud.

Pedro Vargas Sanchez (right) and Margery Baldwin finish their morning tradition by hugging inside Baldwin's kitchen after finishing breakfast. After this, Vargas Sanchez will head out to the field for most of the day and Baldwin will take care of the agritourism side of Baldwin Farms.

Luis Castillo waits for his twin brother Miguel to unlock the Mason High School library door for him on Dec. 16, 2014.

Emilio and Nora at Magnolia Cafe in Austin, Texas. Dec. 2014.
Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Danielle and Harper, June 2014.