Triple threat graphic designer, photographer, and videographer Joshua Fortuna has created quite the Instagram following over the past few years for his unique combination of mediums. His hand-drawn designs atop common objects, such as his daily consumption of coffee and lay-flat camera equipment, has kept his followers engaged and showing their appreciation of his identifiable design aesthetic. Luckily for us, Joshua answered a few of our questions about how he got started over seven years ago, how he finds inspiration for his projects, and what he loves about photography.
BL: You have done a great job of carving out a niche for your creative output. How would you explain what work you share with your followers?
Fortuna: The work I share is usually what I am passionate about. Whether it’s visiting a new city, the people I meet, or what coffee I’m drinking. I try to let people in on what my interests are in a beautiful manner.
BL: What is your camera gear of choice?
BL: At what point did you realize you could do what you love and make a living?
Fortuna: Scarily enough, after I started. When I was younger I knew that I wanted to work as either a graphic designer or a photographer and that I would never settle. I hoped I could make enough money to have a comfortable life. To be honest, I didn’t know at the time how much a creative made and if it could suffice as “a living”. Now I work full-time at a digital marketing agency where I split my time between design and photography. During my “free time”, I work as a freelance creative (whether it’s design, photography, film, motion graphic, or somewhere in between). The current challenge is finding my balance between it all.
BL: Describe how you intertwine photography into your graphic design work. What is it that inspires you about photography that fuels your design work?
Fortuna: It’s rarely split right down the middle. Either the design is the driving force or it’s the photography. To master either photography or design you have to pick up techniques, tips, and tricks along the way. For me, I believe having the mindset of a photographer while I design—and vice versa—gives me a strong advantage in both fields.
BL: What moments are most inspirational to you?
Fortuna: I have found that the most inspiring moments for me happen days after I look at a piece of art—whether it’s photography, design, fashion, etc. I ingest a wide array of visual art via Dribbble, Behance, Designspiration, advertisements, and local galleries. Once I see something I enjoy, I try to not think about it or look back to it. I let the back of my mind mull it over until I need it as a source of inspiration.
BL: What is the best piece of advice you would give to those looking to expand their photo work into the graphic design world? What do you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?
Fortuna: Get inspired. Spend a decent amount of time deciding what you want to gear your efforts toward and have everything you do from that point forward be in service of that goal. I was told this in the middle of my career: “You’re only as good as your inspiration.”
BL: What does a typical day look like for you?
Fortuna: A typical day starts with a few hours on Dribbble, Behance, and/or Vimeo once I get into the office. After planning out my day, I usually stack it with design until the early afternoon. Then I will go take photos around the city—usually for my client, Beard Supply. Once I get what I need, I get back to the computer to edit and plug in my photos to my designs. Obviously all with large quantities of coffee.
BL: What three photographers do you love to follow?
- Adam Goldberg is an amazing actor-turned-film-photographer. He is always experimenting with new processes and films.
- If you remember the beautifully lit tight headshots in Esquire a little while back, you’ve seen Mark Mann’s work.
- Tyler Sharp is a “local” Dallas photographer that travels the world capturing astounding portraits and lifestyles. He is also the one that inspired me to go the way of Fuji X-Series.
BL: What is your photo toolkit? Why do you like renting?
Fortuna: I’d say my toolkit changes depending on the project. I always carry my Fujifilmm X-T1 and 35mm f/1.4. For studio portraits, I really enjoy the Canon 5Ds and the 85mm f/1.2. I like renting because I am a huge gear head. Some people read books, I read spec sheets. Renting is a much cheaper alternative to testing out different sets of gear and different brands’ setups.
BL: Why is photography important to you?
Fortuna: Photography has taught me a lot about going out and meeting people, inviting them to come along, and forcing me to interact. My father passed down his Ricoh XR-10 when I was in high school and I felt a sense of connection to his past passion as well.
BL: Are there any projects or ongoing series you are working on right now that excite you?
Fortuna: I will be filming the story of a shop owner who decided to leave the city and move to East Texas to pursue his dream.
Thanks to Jushua Fortuna for answering a few of our questions. Follow along on his Instagram account to keep up with his work.
Looking for more inspirations? Check out a few of our other BLSpotlight Interviews here: