We had the good fortune of connecting with Jowal Quitl and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jowal, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
Film has always been the main source of inspiration for me, it’s what first sparked my curiosity in creating images. The movies I saw, especially those in my formative years, have deeply resonated and the influence can be seen in my work and how I approach shooting. The use of color, composition, subject, framing etc… in film is what guided me when I first started doing photography. When I look at my early landscape and city photos, I can see how a film like Collateral, directed by Michael Mann, had in impact on my work. Even now, the films of Seijun Suzuki, Michel Gondry and Nicolas Winding Refn are inspiring me to evolve and push myself creatively.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Professionally, I do lot portraits, event/wedding work, I recently started doing real estate media but as an artist I focus more on street photography and documenting the day to day life in Los Angeles. The experience from doing so much freelance work has really helped me develop as a well rounded photographer, I know how to adapt quickly and adjust if situation change or problems suddenly occur, that’s one of the main things that sets me apart from others. When I look back at what I’ve accomplished these last 5 years, one of the things that I’m most proud about is that I’m still doing this and did not give up.. I never get over the fact that I’m being paid to do something that I love and it’s gratifying to see a clear trajectory in my career, the growth from staying consistent is what I’m most excited about. I got to this point by taking almost every gig and opportunity that came my way, which means I also had to put up with a lot of bullshit along the way, but that’s just a natural part of doing freelance work. Ultimately, the key to getting to this point has been trying to stay consistent and optimistic, which has been especially true during this pandemic. It’s definitely not easy and I think the last year has been a true testament to that, but what helped me overcome the challenges of not finding consistent, paid work was to just continue shooting and reminding myself that I do photography because I love it. The power of image and the ability to tell stories is what I care about, in doing that, I started documenting the BLM protests over the summer. By taking photos and supporting something that I genuinely cared about, the work that I did during this time actually opened up a lot opportunities for my career. The big lesson in all this is that when you do something from the heart with sincerity, people will recognize that and you never know good can come from that. If there’s one thing that I want people to know about me and my brand, it’s that I truly care about what I do. Every project I take on, I want to deliver the best photos and live up to what my client had in mind.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a local, I avoid any tourist heavy areas or spots like the plague, so if I’m showing someone around I have that in mind. Los Angeles and the surrounding areas have so many great spots to choose from for food, I’m a big sandwich guy so the two spots I would first show them would be La China Poblana in East LA, which sells cemitas, its the kind of sandwich that you never get tired of and you can get full on a budget. My second spot would be Eastside Deli in Los Angeles, near Chinatown, some of the best subs in town if you’re looking for a hearty meal. After a nice meal, drinks would naturally follow and one of my favorite spots is in DTLA is Seven Grand which is a whiskey bar. When I worked in downtown, this was my go to spot once I was out, one of the best selections of whiskey, the beers on tap are great and it has such a warm, inviting atmosphere, the hours slips by at this place. Breweries have had a boom in the last few years so there’s a wide selection, my got to’s are Progress Brewery in El Monte, Angry Horse in Montebello, the Stone tap room in Pasadena and both High Park Brewery locations. Moving past food/drinks, I love a good hike and my go to spot is in Angeles National Forest, the entire area is scenic and you can’t go wrong with any of the trails but the Switzer Falls trail is my favorite because of the waterfall at the end. You also can’t go wrong with Griffith park, that’s always a great area to hang out if I’m trying to stay close by. The great thing about LA is that there’s so many place to catch a nice view, you really can’t go wrong with any spot. My Last recommendation would be Little Tokyo, you have a great selection of food, drinks and a view of the skyline all in one big block. If you’re short on time but want a scenic adventure, that would be my top recommendation. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents deserve all the recognition, they came to California as illegal immigrants from Mexico in the late 80’s with hopes of starting a business and providing our family a better opportunity, they accomplished both those things. Before he passed, my dad would take me to the movies every Tuesday growing up, and it all started there, my love for film/photography is thanks to him. My mom has always been supportive in my educational and career choices, she has played the most crucial role in helping me make my dream a reality.

Website: jowalquitl.com

Instagram: JowalQ

Twitter: wheresjowaldo

Other: for Real Estate photography and media, you can reach me at jowal@windowstill.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.