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Written by Barbara Sueko McGuire
Photos by Carlos Quinteros Jr.
Portraits of Carlos by Mitchiko Khem

Carlos Quinteros is comfortable sitting back and letting his photography do the talking. Which isn’t a problem because his images have a lot to say. There’s a simplistic intimacy to his work–a sense that there’s more than meets the eye, that you’re being welcomed into a sacred, but accessible, space.

Lucky for us, Carlos’s artistic compass knows where to find these special places and how to capture these unique moments. Whether he’s shooting editorial, sports, portraits or travel, you can tell that Carlos feels at home behind the camera, and that when he’s at home, he’s at his creative best.

The Southern California native recently, and, he admits, a little awkwardly, agreed to let us switch perspectives and turn the focus on him. Read on to get a glimpse at what it’s like to look at the world through Carlos’s lens.

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Talk to me about when you first got interested in taking photographs. What or who sparked your interest?

I first got into photography back in college. Took a darkroom course and instantly fell in love with not just photography, but film and the process of developing and producing a physical copy of an image. I’d spend full days in the darkroom and come out smelling like chemicals.

What were your early days as a photographer like? How did you learn the craft?

I learned how to properly expose images taking a course in college. I would photograph close friends while out on adventures and sneak my camera into shows. It was a challenge photographing a concert from the pit with all the movement of the crowd, but I loved that. Some of my favorite photographs were shot under those conditions.

Film or digital, and why? What kind of camera do you use?

Film, film, film. I shoot film because that was the medium I learned with and always enjoyed the process. Kodak Portra is my go to.

I know you enjoying shooting soccer and I feel like your images give an emotional texture to sports photography that is unique. What inspired you to explore this dimension?

I’ve been a huge fan of the sport since I was a kid. My dad would take me to LA Galaxy games when I was 6, and once photography came into my life I felt like that was a natural step. Being up close to the action and photographing these athletes I admire is amazing. Not something I’d shoot as a career, but more for pleasure. I want to capture raw moments in the game, things you would only see if you were there.

Who are some of your favorite photographers and why?

Getting into photography I learned about Lauren Dukoff. She inspired me in a way no other photographer has done before. Her raw and candid moments with artists really caught my eye.

What do you think a great photograph accomplishes?

Emotions. Good or bad.

Where do you dream of photography taking you?

Art shows and publishing my own book would be the dream goal. Commercial is okay, but in the end, more refined work is what I’d like to do.

Do you ever get the photographer’s equivalent of writer’s block? If so, how to do get creatively inspired?

Definitely do. I feel like most if not every artist does at some point. Once I’m in a hole I try not to look for inspiration. I let inspiration come to me–music, other photos, colors, etc.

What do you think of selfies?

I love a good self-portrait, I don’t like the word “selfies” though.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what’s three things you’d want with you?

My camera, a soccer ball and a good beer.

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Thank you to Carlos for sharing your captivating work with Popover.