Photos by Carlos Santolalla & John Tuite
Carlos and I became a couple (Jarlos) in a way that can only happen in New York. After we met for the first time at a casting, the city kept bringing us together—at parties, Whole Foods, on the sidewalk—as if the romance that would grow between us was all part of its plan.
We moved in together in a tiny apartment. We worked shitty jobs. We couldn’t always pay rent, but we were making the most of every day. That’s the New York state of mind: to hustle hard to create your own opportunities. Even though we didn’t have any money to spare, we kept buying disposable cameras to document every party we crashed, the crazy friends that we made, and never-ending snapshots of our kisses. We uploaded those rolls to our website in massive batches—not even checking whether the pictures were good or bad. The important thing was, they became an affirmation of our own lives, proof that we would beat the odds and find success in New York City.
Professional photography was never our plan, but after three years of doing our own thing, we’ve started to get noticed. All kinds of different people started to dig our reckless, candid style of shooting, because it gives a real look at what life in the city is like. That’s the brilliant thing about choosing to live in New York: everyone here is looking for something, working for it, connecting with other people with the same spirit. It’s not a coincidence that art and love always happen here—they’re the magic that keeps New York thriving as the most amazing city on earth. – John Tuite
What you do you guys do individually?
J: I’m still in school at Columbia. I do writing and Carlos is a photographer.
C: I started shooting photography since I moved to New York with just a disposable camera and then it turned into a job, so I guess that’s what I’m doing now officially.
Where are you guys originally from?
J: I’m from St. Petersburg, Florida.
C: And I’m from California, The Bay.
When did you move to New York?
J: Three years ago.
C: Yeah…like four years ago.
Is that when you guys met, when you moved into the city, or did you meet before?
J: I met Carlos a few months after I moved here.
C: Yeah. We met at a café and then we started hanging out and doing a bunch of stupid shit together.
J: I was still staying on my friend’s couch in Harlem and they kind of kicked me out so I just moved in with him.
Is that when you guys became Jarlos?
C: No that actually took a while longer we—
Yes, tell us about the Jarlos story.
C: So it was kind of actually like an accident—
J: It was probably more like eight months after we were dating, so like a year.
C: I was at home and John went away to like Japan or something so we made an Instagram account just to post pictures of what we’re doing together in separate parts of the world. Then it kind of caught on and became, I don’t know, kind of like a big thing.
J: There are just a lot of couples on Instagram who are always together and always post the same pictures, but like two of the same pictures. I just always thought that was annoying and thought it would be better to just…cause like we’re always hanging out—
C: It’s a lot easier to force it down on people than like two separate photos of each other.