Meiko Arquillos


I grew up in Tokyo until I was sixteen years old. I came to the US as an exchange student while I was in high school. Originally I wanted to become a writer but ended up finding my voice in photography. After college, I assisted various photographers for 6 years and started photographing editorial portraiture in San Francisco. These days I mostly work in advertising shooting still-life and people. My work tends to be playful, lighthearted, colorful and graphic.

Meiko Arquillos

Photographer based in Los Angeles, CA, USA.


How did you get into the industry?

While I was in college studying sociology, I took some elective photography courses. I loved it so much that I went on to take some extension courses at CCA and my instructor (who happened to be Todd Hido) told me to go assist photographers if I am interested in commercial photography. And so I did!

Who/what has inspired you in your career? And Why?

I get inspired by everything….conversations I hear in grocery stores, my daughter’s drawings and stuff I read. My father always said to find something that you love and devote yourself until you are really good at it. I am still trying to get good at it.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I always say I feel like I have accomplished something when my photographs make people smile. I have worked with both huge corporations with a big budget and smaller companies with little budget, but the reward is always the same: the reaction I get from people.

What has been your hardest lesson to learn?

At the beginning of my career, I was really trying hard to create what I thought people will like. As soon as I started taking pictures for myself without worrying about everything else, a lot of doors opened up for me. It took a long time, but I learned that ultimately you have to create what speaks to YOU.

You have a very unique style. Where did that come from and how has it evolved?

I have always felt like an outsider even when I was a child. I was always trying the hardest to fit in so that I won’t have to stand out. It puts tremendous social pressure growing up in a place like Japan. It was liberating to come to a new country and be able to create without being told what to do. It was scary and confusing at first, but eventually, I found my own voice.

What’s next for you?

I would like to make a new body of video work, and I am really excited about it.

If you had an unlimited budget and total creative freedom, what would you shoot?

Some sort of stop-motion movie like “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

If you could have any other career, what would it have been?

Comedian (if I were funnier)

Who should we showcase next?

Todd Davis (Set design)  because he is a great person, has embraced weirdness (like me) and love his work! https://www.davishandmade.com

Read Todd’s interview here: https://prepro.io/todd-davis/

All images are copyright © Meiko Arquillos

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