We had the good fortune of connecting with Ismael Quintanilla III and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ismael, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind success is the aspiration to create genuine connections with clients and their interests. If the brand becomes the principal focus, what’s best for the client might be overlooked. A brand is nothing without a client to sell it to. However, when the client becomes the number one priority, the brand becomes tailored to their interests. Brands evolve over time, but genuine connections will exceed the product regardless of the market.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Live music is about energy and connection between the artist and the crowd. As a music photojournalist, my purpose is to capture that energy and connection into a single frame. Without the capability to connect with music, the photographs come out dull and lifeless. Exploring and understanding this connection to music (and the people that create it) have become a life purpose. Over the years, I learnt breathtaking photographs don’t come from having the best cameras or expensive lighting equipment, they come from the simple practice of being present and focusing on what’s in front to see everything align to know when’s the right time to press the shutter button. Art requires an unbelievable level of self-awareness, the chokehold on the growth is always the artist itself. The more you understand yourself as a human being, the more you understand yourself as an artist.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
You better be ready for some musical adventures because we are taking a trip around the Live Music Capital of the World! Monday, we’ll take it easy in order to prep for a long and busy week ahead. We’ll have some sake and ramen for dinner at one of my favorite ramen spots, Ramen Tatsu-Ya. It’s one of Austin’s busiest places all day every day and the music selection playing at the restaurant is always on point! Tuesday, we are meeting up with fellow Zero Hour ATX videographer Don Ray and sound engineer Carter Greeves to film a taping with Austin’s Hip-Hop artist, Mama Duke, for the release of her upcoming album ‘Ballsy’. Zero Hour ATX is a video project documenting Austin musicians playing acoustic sets at their home during the pandemic times. Wednesday, we are taking it easy by doing some yoga with The Austin Chronicle and fellow live music photographer, David Brendan Hall. David and I have been doing weekly yoga sessions as a way to keep ourselves grounded during the pandemic. Thursday, we’ll take a trip down to the historic Red River Cultural District where the majority of the music venues in Austin are. Tonight, we are checking out Blues on the Green, currently taking place at Waller Creek Amphitheater outside Stubb’s BBQ. Kalu and the Electric Joint and Gina Chavez are headlining the show and they are going to blow your mind! Friday, we are going to the world famous ACL Live at Moody Theater, where my friend Jackie Venson is having an intimate show for the release of her latest album ‘Vintage Machine’ which is an amazing, big, and loud album! A couple of months ago, Jackie Venson played at the same stage for the filming of her PBS’s Austin City Limits episode, which was released last weekend! Saturday, we are heading north to the city of Cedar Park, where Love and Lightstream has been doing some magical live music drive-in shows for over a month at the Haute Spot. Tonight’s lineup includes Austin’s sweet heart Kathryn Legendre and rising honky-tonk star Charlie Crockett. The profit from Love and Lightstream Drive-In benefits local non-profit Black Fret and HAAM, which provide financial funds and health care to musicians in Austin, Texas. Sunday, we are ending our week at south Austin outdoor venue Far Out Lounge to do a taping for Mas Music TV. We’ll be working alongside producers Michele Mas and Meagan Volquardsen, videographer Don Ray, and sound engineer Shaun Dickerson. Tonight’s music will be provided by Austin musicians Carousel Lounge, who have one of the most wild psychedelic rock live shows in town!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My partner, Allison Armenta, my brother, Luis Quintanilla, and my friend, Bella Torres, are the pillars of where I am in life. Unexpectedly, 2020 has been one of the busiest years of my life and they have provided a lot of love and support through the hard-pressed times. Allison keeps me connected, Luis keeps me inspired, and Bella keeps me fed.
Personal photo taken by Robert Hein