LatinXperience Ep.4: Anthony Arroyo

LatinXperiences

Anthony Arroyo is a freelance Des Moines-based Mexican-American photographer who captures raw and minimalist moments of humans and nature in their environments.

We’re bringing you this Podcast series from Urban Plains, where we’ll be highlighting the experiences of the Latinx community, who’s been here in the Midwest since the early 20th century. From artists to educators, our guests will talk about the struggles and successes of laying down the foundations for the next Latinx generations to continue to dream and to prosper.    

Transcription

REYNA AUYON-ESCOBAR, HOST:

For our last episode, we have a fellow Drake University alumni, freelance photographer Anthony Arroyo. Anthony currently has a photo gallery showcasing his return to his family’s homeland after 20 years at the slow down café. Anthony discusses his journey into the world of photography, how he is navigating, running his own business and building up his clientele, and how he is owning and connecting to his Mexican identity.

REYNA:

Hi, Anthony. Thank you for coming. I know you’re really busy. You currently have “a home I never knew,” at the Slow Down Cafe in Des Moines. How is that going for you?

ANTHONY ARROYO, GUEST:

not really, I act like I am, now, but I’m not so. A lot better than expected. Even for them, they’re surprised a lot of things are selling. Yeah, because I was like, You guys don’t really know me yet.

ANTHONY:

So you’ll see the people who come through and there’s been a lot of people came through the first two of our days and then obviously the whole galleries up the whole month. But yeah, it’s going really well. 

KAILI JIMEI, HOST:

Is that the book or print?

ANTHONY:

Oh, so it’s like a whole project. So a home. I never knew is a project based on the first time I went to Mexico in 20 years and kind of reconnecting with my family and kind of just getting exposed to my dad and how he grew up and whatnot.And really just having that like, wow, there’s more of me that I don’t know about that I still have to explore and the way that they accepted me and like never let me feel left out just because I’m like from the United States, I’m very Americanized. They were like, no, like you are us. Like, we have unconditional love for you.That’s how I figured out I had a home. I didn’t know about my whole life. 

REYNA:

You’re a freelance photographer, so how do you build your clientele? So how are you doing that? Especially because you graduated last year? 

ANTHONY:

Yeah, I just I don’t know it’s funny because yesterday, Desi, slow down was like, after like I was about to wrap up, she came up to me.I was like, hey, it’s like it’s like crazy. You’ve talked basically the whole time you’ve been here because people are just here how do you do, like, how are you able to, like, talk? I’m like, I don’t know. Like, I just I love what I do. 

REYNA:

No dry mouth. No, no dry mouth. 

ANTHONY:

Just sipping water, coffee. But with clients, I feel like especially after I graduated, I kind of just jumped right into things.So after graduation, took a two week break, just hung out. Then I got into it and I got really lucky. Like, I booked a really big client like right after, and I was just kind of like the snowball effect of things. So I had this huge project back in June 20, 21, and after that I had like 15 weddings as a second shooter.And I was like my own. And then like, I do, I have a bunch of stuff coming up again with Des Moines Greater Partnership this month. We have three events to do. And like this month also I have raised the Bar Initiative, which is another nonprofit here. So it’s just like always going back to people I’ve worked with before in the past and then also recommending me to other people.So I guess that’s what my clientele is like grown and it’s kind of crazy to think about it because there’s quite a few people I’m kind of in with now, like and it just took like, you know, being nice and just doing a good job. I don’t know if I may, I have one last question, so the podcast is all about like highlighting achievements.

MAGGIE LITTEL, HOST:

So whether that be like personal, like academic or even like professional, what would you say your biggest achievement is thus far? When specifically? 

ANTHONY:

When I think about photography, I know I’m already going to be and like the next two months, but I would say this project is that because of how authentic it is, because I didn’t plan to do this, like I took these photos just straight up, like I love photography.

KAILI:

A home I never knew. 

ANTHONY:

Yeah, like the home I never knew was definitely like my greatest achievement so far because of how authentic it is. I made it just like straight out my curiosity of like, my dad and like my family and like just being in that new place where it was all new to me. But it felt so nice and familiar.Like, I was comfortable being there and like the way I was just accepted. It was really different compared to, like, growing up feeling like really left out and like, yeah, kind of alienated in that group of people. So I would say that. But coming up, I’m working on a grand project for the state called taquerias el la university to talk about like taco trucks on University Avenue.And basically I’m just documenting taco trucks and like I’ll do a couple of video profiles and I’m really focusing on how they were affected over during the whole pandemic because, you know, some of them were undocumented and received no federal aid and they just been having to do this the whole time. They didn’t get a break. There was only like food, food options open from like March through out to like May. And so like the other little things start opening is either you go to the grocery store or you’re going to the taco trucks. So to get like their whole perspective and like tapping into their stories. And I feel like sadly they’re kind of just forgotten about. They’re just like all they’re there. They’re always there for us. But really, they go through so much when it comes to like food shortages and like it’s a lot.So that will probably be like the next thing. Well, yes, like I put a lot of thought into it and it came out really good. That’s awesome. 

REYNA:

Besides that, actually, I have one more question. What travel opportunities do you have with your work? 

ANTHONY:

So I just got contracted to go to Huntsville Alabama in July. I’ll be out there for five days for the mixed martial arts championships.

KAILI:

Wow 

HARRISON FUTRELL, HOST:

Wow. Fun.

REYNA:

Super cool. 

ANTHONY:

It was really funny because they’re like, How are you going to get paid? I was like, that, I don’t know, say your prize 10g’s So I hit up my one of my older photographer friends and they’re like, Oh, we can talk about it tomorrow. And I was like, I don’t want to wait till tomorrow.So I was like, thousand dollars a day with everything included. And they’re like, Sure. And I was like, Wait, I know. I was like, Oh, no, that’s not even the craziest one. So like, last so last summer, right after I graduated the Nelson Mandela Fellowship. Yeah, they there’s some people in the business school who like running when I don’t even like giving them a price. They were like, We have a budget of 8000. How does that sound? And I was like that for me, there were 8000. So yeah, it was only three videos. Like it was two. Yeah, I know. That’s great. So yeah, I guess I feel like to me, whenever things are down, I always feel like things are always going to end up how they should.Like they’ll always turn out in a good way, but that’s just me being like, how optimistic can people think? I’m not  like that all the time But I’m like, No, like, why would I? I don’t know. I’d rather be optimist than the person is. 

MAGGIE LITTEL, HOST:

I really appreciate how transparent you were. 

KAILI:

Yeah. Kind of stuff that takes a lot of effort to talk about to you because I feel like as a freelancer, it’s so hard.Like, we had a graphic design class where we learned how to like, if we want to do freelance design, how to negotiate your wage or ask for more. And I feel like it’s so hard as a freelancer because like, I kind of did photography for a little bit, and every time people ask me for my rights, I went to my photographer and I was like, Hey, what do you do?

ANTHONY:

What should I do? You’ll get changes. So you just never know. And I feel like especially you guys going to freelancing, another huge advice, get a bunch of mentors. I always hit them as soon as I’m like, I, I’ve never been in a position. Let me hit somebody, especially when it comes to like big money and I’m like, Oh, shit.Like, this is kind of crazy. Yeah, I’m two old  to offer for this, so. 

REYNA:

Oh, I think I thought your art show spoke to me especially the two tococ pictures. You took the…

ANTHONY:

 which one? 

REYNA:

The little car. The car one, in Guatemala, they’re called tococ. 

ANTHONY:

Oh, yeah. 

REYNA:

And it just reminded me of being in Guatemala City and being with my grandma and just writing in those little death traps oh yeah I know they’re definitely death traps..

ANTHONY:

Yeah. 

REYNA:

And I just it just brought me back to that moment, and I just. I felt the seen. I love that memory, and I appreciate that your show, you know, brought it back up to the surface of my mind. So I think you’re doing great. 

ANTHONY:

Thank you. I’m glad you said that. 

MAGGIE:

How long is your show there for it?

ANTHONY:

So for the rest of the month, people, I don’t know how it would be or if people were like, oh, we want to see more of it. I don’t know how that would go about. But yeah, it’s all for the rest of the month. And then I don’t know the world. I’ll try to find a place online to like have it digitally.

REYNA:

Thank you for listening to that and experience. It’s bittersweet, but our time together has come to an end we hope that we provide an insight into the Latin experience here in the Midwest. So the guests that we interviewed and their knowledge and their life stories, it was an honor to provide a platform for the Latinx community that is often overlooked in the Midwest

So thank you so much for joining us.

0 Shares:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like