15 Questions with… Carlos Jaramillo

How are you at the moment?

It’s Monday, and I just got back from a camping trip over the weekend with my wife. So I am worn out, but riding my vacation vibes, and grateful work is finally picking back up from covid, and things have been keeping me busy. 

What is your morning ritual? How does your day begin?

Usually, I try to find one of my two cats to say hi to them. Then I make coffee, and either have cereal or cook some eggs and toast. Depending on the day, I often wake up super early to go surfing to start my day.

What, right now, can you see?

My cell phone, ceiling and front door. I’m on my couch and I just woke up from a nap after unpacking and moving items from my old studio. 

What artist, project, book would you recommend we see/follow?

Highly recommend the book Night Procession by Stephen Gill. It has to be the book, it hits better. I’ve also been obsessed with Torbjorn Rodland‘s IG account @rodland.jpg.

Tell us about your process when starting a new project.

I typically stumble across ideas or projects while taking pictures with no intentions. I then try to go back and revisit those places to start a larger project. With my new series, ROC, I sort of knew what I wanted to do, even though it started on a whim after a few random pictures. Once I had 2-3 photos I liked, I knew what direction I wanted to go with that series. 

What has been your favourite collaboration? 

I’ve enjoyed working for my friend Phil’s clothing brand, Lady White Co. He’s become a big photobook collector and sells some of his personally collected books at his store after he’s ready to make room for more books. We’re always using photobooks for inspiration for our shoots and that’s been super fun. 

What is your greatest achievement? 

Surviving NYC for 8 years.

What is your greatest regret?

Not investing or saving when I started making money. 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

I’d advise myself to push myself harder in education.

What is your latest project about?

I started my project, ROC, during the first quarantine when I was still living in Rockaway Beach, NY. I decided to leave my camera out on my coffee table so I could start taking pictures inside my house, as a sort of way to pass the time. I started going on beach walks with my wife and realized I missed going on walks and taking photos. I had always wanted to do a B&W series and making a series on Rockaway Beach in B&W felt appropriate at the time. It started off as these quasi-meditative photo walks, and then grew into creating still lifes and portraits that reflected my time and feelings from the previous year, healing from cancer and living in Rockaway. Spending time outside documenting Rockaway was also a way of me showing my appreciation to the place. I wanted to show its beauty and weirdness.

What are you researching at the moment?

I’ve been working on creating my first photobook, which I’m hoping will come out later this year. Everything at the moment is almost done and I’ve been doing some research on paper types I’d like to use for the book. I’m super excited for this project to come out! I’ve been sitting on this body-of-work since 2017. 

What can you not work without?

Music and water. Got to stay pumped and hydrated!

What challenges have you faced working in your industry?

Sometimes I think being Latinx has been challenging in a predominantly white industry. I think throughout the years it has changed a lot and I’m starting to see a lot more people of colour on set. I remember in 2019, I was on set with an all BIPOC photo team and that was the first time I had experienced that. We were all tripping out and were so stoked to see that. Needless to say, I’m not pointing any fingers or singling out any race. I think a lot of it is cultural. My parents, as immigrants, didn’t support me or want me to become an artist or photographer, they thought it was a waste of money. I think this holds back a lot of BIPOC people from coming into this industry when we have families who want us to take on more traditional or responsible paths.

What are you hoping for in 2021?

Hoping to start up a new project! I recently moved to Los Angeles and have no personal projects lined up. I’m hoping to find some new ideas this year.

Share a song with us, what are you listening to at the moment?

Beastie Boy ft. Q-Tip – Get It Together

Carlos Jaramillo (b.1988, McAllen, TX) is a visual artist based in Los Angeles. Jaramillo is a graduate of School of Visual Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. He surfs, travels, and chills with his wife and two cats in his free time.