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.
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.
Thank you to Carlos for sharing your captivating work with Popover.
Written by Barbara Sueko McGuire
Photos by Emily Alben
Ashley Tibbits is a writer, stylist and all around creative woman. Barbara Sueko McGuire recently sat down with the LA local to talk about what inspires her, how to pursue creativity, and what it means to be a domestic goddess.
It’s hard not to watch Ashley Tibbit’s hands when she talks. Her petite digits aren’t distracting—rather, they animate her language and speak to the passion behind her words. Ashley is a woman who says what she means and means what she says. She’s one of the easiest humans to have a conversation with, and when she’s discussing her creative pursuits, or helping you suss out your own, it’s as if her fingers are conducting the dialogue.
The Wisconsin native first moved to Southern California in 2007 to pursue a career as an art critic, and has called Silver Lake home ever since. While her life’s direction may have altered course, her love for all things beautiful and creative has never been stronger.
“I’m continually fascinated by Los Angeles: how full and vibrant it is and how it somehow still allows for quiet moments. The jacarandas in spring, the year-long bougainvilleas, the massive agave plants and just this kind of landscape that was nothing like where I grew up,” she explained. “But the main thing that keeps me here is the creativity I’ve found; I meet people daily that are pursuing their dreams and there’s undeniable and palpable magic in that.”
So read on as Ashley’s words—and hands—orchestrate a symphony about her unique niche in this world, and discover why she, herself, is a very real part of the magic.
You excel at a variety of creative pursuits, from being a fashion writer and editor to working as a freelance stylist. What draws you to each different outlet?
I joke that “if you can’t do, write” like they say about teaching—also horribly untrue. I’m able to see that writing isn’t something that’s as easy for some people as it is for me, and I don’t mean to be too self-deprecating about that, but to some degree I’ve always been a “jack of all trades, master of none.”
I think I’m pretty clear now that writing is what I do best, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love to style when I get the chance. When I tried to switch to full-time styling I realized it was never the same passion I had for writing. It’s such a hard industry and you have to love it 100 percent. For me, that part of my heart was just reserved for writing so I couldn’t push that out of the way. Now if I’m blessed to be offered a cool styling job—even if the money is terrible—I’ll take it because I really do like being artistic in that way. But only when I get some creative freedom! The alternative is no fun.
You also describe yourself as a “domestic goddess.” Can you talk a little bit about how you came up with the moniker and what it means to you?
Yes! It’s very tongue-in-cheek to call myself that. If you actually visited my apartment you know I’m no Martha Stewart. My ex is a very talented cook and got me excited about doing things like shopping the farmer’s market, cooking, setting a nice table, etc. When we split up, those types of things were too tied to him for me to enjoy anymore. Then one day I decided I deserved to do beautiful things for myself—for no other reason than to make myself happy and that I could make my own memories and experiences.
So now I like to do things like always have flowers around, visit the farmer’s market a few times a week and I love to geek out cooking breakfast or making a cocktail. My mom, bless her, raised us on a lot of convenience foods, so it’s a new world for me to be playing with recipes the way I do now! And the produce in a place like LA makes it so easy.
How do you keep your personal life and your work life balanced and organized in a way that actually let’s you turn “off?”
I wish I could say I do, but it’s a constant struggle. I’m not wealthy and no one else supports me, so I kind of have to say “yes” to a lot. I’m not in the position to just follow all my creative pursuits 100 percent of the time, but I do love a lot of work that I get to do at the moment and I feel really lucky about that.
There are days I feel like I am totally brain-dead and that I’ve used all the words in the English vocabulary and I have no energy left for things like laundry or cleaning the apartment. That’s the tricky part. I spend a lot of time working and when I’m not working I’m unwinding from work (read: sleeping). That makes it hard to keep up with chores and do personal creative projects. I think moving forward I need to be better about saying no when it means keeping me more sane and happy. That’s something I might always battle with!
What’s some advice you’d give to budding creatives looking to break from their 9-5 and pursue something they’re more passionate about?
Number one, I’d say don’t necessarily hate on your 9-5 unless it makes you totally miserable. There’s no shame in paying your bills with something that’s not your dream job—as long as you’re following your passion in your other time. I hope to one day support myself completely by writing, but until that happens there’s no sense in torturing myself for not being able to!
Be patient and kind with yourself; we’re not all given a trust fund and surrounded by “yes” people. Figure out what brings you the most joy and do what you have to do to make time for it, even if it’s before or after your 9-5 and even if you can’t figure out if it will ever make you money. Believe me, if you don’t you’ll feel you’re missing out.
You’re exceptionally good at connecting with people—seeing what they’re really about—and then using that knowledge for good, whether it be introducing them to someone in their industry or suggesting an online resource that could be inspiring. Is this something that comes naturally to you or is it a skill you had to cultivate?
I’m blessed to be in an amazing group of creative women that I can call friends. When I pitch someone as a subject, it’s probably because I’m already admiring them from afar. Very rarely has meeting these women been disappointing and very often we end up being friends! I’m drawn to women who are creative and hard working and they tend to have like-minded friends so it’s a domino effect. LA makes it so easy to connect. From what I hear that’s what’s cool about our city versus New York. For me, it’s never competitive, and that’s great because I’m not from a competitive city. It’s very organic to say, “Oh you do this cool thing? You need to meet so-and-so.” And others do the same for me.
It seems like you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the uniquely cool market. Is there an author, coffee shop, fashion trend or band we should be paying attention to? For instance, what do you think might be the next avocado toast?
Hahaha! I hope avocado toast is a forever thing. In fashion, I’ve been noticing a huge shift towards sustainable brands that create in small runs, use deadstock or reclaimed fabric and manufacture locally. Paying a bit more, but investing in pieces that are more conscious and well-made to last you longer and stay in your closet more than a season. I love brands like Reformation or the recently-launched YSTR for that.
Of course “mom” jeans are having a moment, but I refuse to call them that! I was told by a vintage denim vendor that there’s going to be a shift away from 501’s. I have a pair of Lee’s from Fair Season which are a bit higher rise and more slim-fitting than that style, so they have less of an ‘80s mom vibe.
I’m super snobby about writers. I’ll watch any horrible reality show but I can’t be in book clubs because I’m so picky. That said, one of my favorite contemporary writers is Tao Lin. His last novel “Tai Pei” is an incredibly accurate portrait of detached youth. The writing style is so modern and the story is sad and funny and very relatable.
How do you stay inspired? Who or what keeps you on your creative toes?
I make sure to make time to get inspired. That might mean taking a stroll around Echo Park during lotus season or going to a matinee showing of some indie movie or doing candlelit yoga in my living room while Lemonade is playing. I think honestly it’s about disconnecting in some way for me.
Photos by Ana DiGiallonardo
Article and styling by Popover
Location by LEVEL Furnished Living
Special thanks to our guests from Skid Row Housing Trust, G&B Coffee, The Simple Things Project, and LA Downtowner
Perched high above the cars, construction, and people found all around Downtown LA a group of individuals from different backgrounds gathered together to talk about their connection to the growing city, which was also our backdrop for the evening. Downtown LA has been the focal point in many debates about growth, development, and the blending of million dollar condos with the often overlooked tent camps lining the streets. LA’s rapid growth upwards and outwards brings with it a lot of excitement for new opportunity, but we wanted to explore how the new would interact with the old and what a city in the middle of a rebranding would look like a few years from now. Popover teamed up with LA Downtowner, a trusted voice in all things Angeleno related, to bring together a group of individuals for an evening of family style food and learning. Each guest had some connection to the city and a passion for their LA home, whether it was seen through the eyes of an artist reflecting on his time working in an arts district co-working space, a business owner changing the way we as consumers view coffee, a student whose campus is fully integrated with the city, or a spokesperson and advocate for the support and awareness of homeless housing. It was one of our most diverse gatherings to date, one that undoubtedly got people thinking about how they contribute to the reshaping of an iconic city and what it means to support LA.
LA Downtowner does an incredible job of not only highlighting the new and emerging locations, but also exposing the hidden gems that have remained nestled in the city for years. Their team is also comprised of marketing pros so a conversation about rebranding a city was only natural. The evening discussion was split into sections about the newbies of the city, the originals, and what the blending of the two could look like in some future vision of the city. In true family meal fashion we passed around platters of food filled with items like pesto and shrimp toast, corn and mint salad, prosciutto and figs, shortcakes and jam, then topped it off with lemon and thyme cocktails. Taking full advantage of the seasonally warm evening and the sounds of the city we set up on the sprawling patio at LEVEL Furnished Living, tucked into a quiet corner hidden by lush green bushes. Towering iconic landmarks like the unmistakable turquoise of the Eastern Building, the cursive sign of the Orpheum, and the exposed beams of the soon-to-be-completed Wilshire Grand rose high above the table making our conversation about the old and new of Downtown LA much more poignant.
There was no denying that sitting on the beautiful patio of one of Downtown LA’s newest condo high rises really pointed out how quickly the city is changing, but the dialogue remained focused on how the new and the old could and should work together. After all, at the end of the day when we find ourselves back at street level, face to face with the homeless people that nestle themselves among the new construction, it becomes apparent that we can’t push fixing the issue off on someone else. Remarks about a business owner’s duty to represent the city the correct way highlighted that the advocates around the table really take their roles seriously when protecting LA. Questions about how to cultivate the talent found among the artists setting up shop in co-working spaces led into discussions on how housing can and should be attainable to the homeless. Insight into the real origins of the name skid row lead into thoughts on rebranding a population. The dinner lingered well past sunset and even after the food was gone the discussion forged on. there were no heated moments or issues of complete disagreement, but rather a desire to understand our city a little better, promote it’s growth, and shed positive light on the homeless population.
Written by Asia David
Photos of Asia by Aja Hitomi
All other photos by Asia David
Asia David is the Creative Director of BUNCH Magazine, a beautiful publication that has built a healthy following by curating stories about and for the daring creative. Asia is a true creative mind and she gave us a little glimpse into what it takes to craft a brand.
I often get the question of what exactly it is I do or the assumption that my everyday life is all fun with no real work. While snapchat and instagram help play into that idea, my life is a juggling act of maintaining the overall BUNCH brand, self-care and actually having a life. While what I get to do as work is awesome, it’s not always a walk in the park. Some days I work solely from my couch, glued to the computer screen in my pj’s while other days I’m running all over the city without taking one look at an email. Because we’re such a small team at BUNCH, everyone has their hands, arms, and feet in every area of the publication, which make for really fun yet unpredictable days.
As the Creative Director of BUNCH Magazine, my primary role is to maintain our brand while brainstorming and executing new ways to evolve our brand. I make sure every visual component that comes through and/or is created by our magazine shares our brand story and aesthetic. From coming up with event ideas, producing concepts for and executing photo shoots, laying out the entire issue with the help of my graphic design intern, and managing our art contributors, I’m often doing many tasks at once.
I’m an early riser and like to start my day off around 5am. Really, this means I lie in bed for another hour and then set my intentions for the day. I mediate, visualize, make tea, and write down all my tasks for the day. After that, I do some reading — right now I’m into You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I make sure to take time for myself before the craziness of the day starts (and people start waking up), so I can check in with myself and get my mind right. After reading, I try to start or get one project done before I go to the gym for an hour. I always try to make it to the gym exactly at 8am so I can stick to a strict morning schedule. Also, if I don’t get to the gym early, all the treadmills will be taken.
The gym is a good time for me to get all my social media, youtubing and blog reading out of the way. After a good hour, I shower, make breakfast then jump into my workday around 9:30/10am. This is the time where my day is up for grabs depending on the most urgent task or where we are with the magazine. Anything goes from conference calls, heading to my first meeting, a photoshoot, or setting up somewhere to work for the day. I try to work outside as much as possible since it’s my job to stay inspired and creative.
Today, I went to a coffee shop and made it my mission to create the master moodboard for our next issue. I spent a few hours researching words, collecting imagery, colors and thinking of cool concepts we could try around the theme. After that, I took a lunch meeting with a friend at Urth Cafe, to explore ideas for an upcoming editorial I wanted her to shoot. When lunch was done, I noticed that it was such a nice day and decided to work from one of my favorite areas, Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach. I caught up on emails, looked through editorial submissions, reached out to a few artists that want to work on the next issue with, and then went back to creating the master moodboard. I reviewed the images from the morning and created a visual story with the strongest concepts and visuals relating to our new theme.
It’s now afternoon and I’m ready to head home. I use the time driving sitting in traffic to listen to an audio book (Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is amazing one), podcasts, or zone out to music. Once home, I make dinner, and finish any lingering projects or start on one for the next day. This is the time where I get to research what’s happening in art/design, tackle website maintenance, or create social media graphics needed for the upcoming week.
I must admit I need a better night routine for winding down and separating from all things digital. My day usually ends by scrolling through social media and falling asleep to whatever series I’m addicted to at the moment. Right now, I’m watching the entire Desperate Housewives series and no, I’m not ashamed. Even though my to-do list is what seems to be miles long, I make it a daily mission to get 3 large things done a day. If I learned something new about my craft, got a head start on an upcoming issue (like the moodboard), and some brand maintenance, I feel pretty good about my day.
Event design by Popover
Candle making by Hayworth and Heart
Venue by The Unique Space
Photos by Jessica Castro Weddings
After the end of a long work week most people like to spend their Friday night unwinding with friends and loved ones. It’s a time to pack away work for the next few days and revel in the fact that the alarm doesn’t need to go off too early the next morning. A few weeks ago Popover teamed up with Hayworth and Heart to create an evening of casual conversation with a hands on custom candle making craft for a group of guests at The Unique Space in Downtown LA. The goal was to celebrate a productive week by crafting, eating, and spending the evening with some new faces that could possibly turn into friends. Their large main floor provided the perfect setting for a long community table lined with all of the supplies needed to make a custom scented candle. A nearby table was packed with scented oils in every note from rhubarb and fig to the classics like lilac, rose, and vanilla. The guests were invited to mingle, drink, and discover not only a new craft, but a new person to chat with as well.
The part I love during each Popover gathering is when the conversation starts going and everyone begins chiming in on the topic at hand. Not only do I learn from what others are saying, but it begins to feel like those great dinner parties when everything just clicks. When I sat down to put together the conversation portion of the evening I tapped into a topic that I’ve been playing with recently, “how do you find friends and partnerships that mean something”, more playfully titled “will you be my friend?”. It’s a relatively simple and trivial question, but something that has a major impact on our own happiness, productivity, attitude, and a whole list of emotions that make us feel connected to a community. One of the greatest things about hosting Popover Gatherings is watching how open people are to meeting new faces from different backgrounds with different stories. A shared connection, shared neighborhood, or mutual interest is all it takes to reveal a new friendship or possible collaboration. The low key evening at The Unique Space was no different as the guests began creating their own candles, mixing their own scents, and ultimately cozying up to each other on vintage couches and stools to discuss how inspired scents can relate to inspired friendships and partnerships. Once the caps to the oil bottles came off the group was busy testing, passing, and sharing their favorite scents with fellow crafters.
Staged like a true dinner party we all enjoyed drinks pre-candle making and wandered around the venue enjoying The Unique Space’s incredible decor, the main event brought everyone together around the community table to listen to Hayworth and Heart owner, Suraiya, talk about scent trends while helping everyone mix their candles. In the end we all filed up the the living room to cary the conversation from unique scented candles to building unique friendships. With a diverse group of guests each person provided their own take on topics like how to blend and layer meaningful relationships and developing lingering partnerships that are built to last. Conversations went from how to ask someone on a “friend date” to how the LA landscape inexplicably influences friendships, to the ever popular dating apps redesigned for friends. By the time the candles had cooled and were packed and ready to go, the group was still lingering in the main room, sparking conversations, making future plans, and celebrating a Friday evening not with strangers, but new found partners and friends.