Creative Couple Yesi + Joshua Fortuna
We chat with the husband-wife duo behind Fort Lion Studio who comes on all our adventures, cameras in hand, and documents every Sol Society member’s most engaging moments, encouraging us all to put our phones down and live in the moment.
How did you two get together?
We’ve been married for seven years, and when we first got together we thought we could freelance together along with our “day jobs.” To our surprise, it did not work. We knew we had the skills, and we just got fed up waiting for other people to see the potential so we just made our own company based on the skill set we acquired throughout the years. We had to figure out our strengths, weaknesses, goals—it took 5 years to feel comfortable working together on our own!
What is Fort Lion Studio?
It is a photo and video production studio. We are creatives, but we do work with amazing people who help us put together content for brands, fashion—or brands in the fashion world. We bring the “X” factor to companies that have that edge to them, and the world that we live in is bridging the gap between lifestyle and commercial, they go hand in hand together. We are able to bring that commercial aspect because we have those high standards, but we are able to jump from one world to the other all in the same project—a unique, key element we bring to people we work with.
How did you become involved with Sol Society?
We met Taylor at a curated dinner, and instantly gravitated toward each other. The moment she shared her concept, we told her that if there was a way to help, we wanted to.
What is your role on these Sol Society trips?
We take a step back and we observe. We watch for moments that speak to what it actually feels like to be in these destinations with people that have their own unique personality, and how that personality affects the group as a whole. We film from the outsider’s perspective of it, rather than projecting our own ideas of what the film should be like. Everyone’s energy tells a story.
How does travel affect your own work?
Yesi: It turns me back into a student. I no longer feel like a professional that feels like I have all this experience, for one moment to the next I am learning something and because of that sense of challenge, it’s inspiring in a whole new way. We have to completely surrender to our environment. We have no control over it. And, it releases a new kind of inspiration that is in us already, but that we have to tap into.
How was Mexico City?
We loved it so much, we stayed a couple days afterwards! The group that we were with created such an amazing support system so what it did was allow all our personalities to flourish in the best way. By the time we left we still had this amazing confidence we had all gained — I feel like everyone who left felt like they had grown in their own way.
So you enjoy the group dynamic Sol Society creates?
Yesi: Because of how well-curated the group was, we all somehow seemed to be looking for the same thing out of the trip—we all just wanted to finally relax. What that says to me is that we all have very intense jobs in similar areas. All the people on that trip worked just as hard, and came to the same place to give in to our surroundings and be inspired.
What was your favorite activity on the Mexico City trip?
The Casa Luis Barragán! That house was especially inspiring to us. We took some of our favorite footage in this place, it was a perfect backdrop. It was transformative in the way in which you interacted with what was around you. I think that it spoke to us on a deep level, and it was a perfect blend of enjoying Mexico City.
What really stood out to you on this trip?
Joshua: It was nice to be able to look at everything going on and not have to deal with the stress of getting one place to another, because Taylor had taken care of that so well—there were no stresses for us or anyone. Being able to roll with the punches as everything happened, going from one environment to a completely different one — each one so rich in culture — created such fulfilling experiences. It was a great vibe to be around all those people. And everyone got along so well that now when I go out I see them and it’s like we have gained a family through shared experience.
Your next trip is Morocco, what are you looking forward to?
Joshua: I have so much excitement that I’m nervous! I’m not going to be able to turn on my camera without capturing something beautiful, and everything on the itinerary looks really amazing. It’s going to be a culture shock in the best way possible! The best thing about a trip like this is that if I just went to Morocco I would have no idea what to do, what to see, I would have to do a ton of research; knowing that it’s all going to be curated by Taylor, I know that I have no worries.
What are you excited to provide to Sol Society members?
Each one of these people that go on a trip with Sol Society leaves with amazing portraits of themselves, giving that almost paparazzi-style imagery that you see on instagram and Pinterest that people want to recreate but can’t, because it’s so laissez-faire you can’t fake it. These people, who may or may not be in the fashion world, get these pics that have this sense of style to them because thats just how we work, we bring that fashion editorial element to regular everyday life.
Do you find that people put their cameras down when you have yours out?
“Hey, leave your phone at home,” sounds scary but that is the whole point! We’ve done everything for you so that all you have to do is actually enjoy it. I definitely see the fear in peoples eyes, but I also hear them saying they are enjoying this, and living this. People still want to post on social media, connect with friends, engage in conversation with people that aren’t there—and we don’t want to take that away. We just want you to look with your eyes and not with your phones.
What us your next project?
We are working on our first fashion documentary film, revolving around an artist’s life!