Q&A with Markus aka @fort_box_ on Instagram
What does it take to stand out on Instagram’s denimsphere? Looking at a blue blood like Berlin’s @fort_box_, the list could look something like this:
- Quality photos
- Good denim (obviously)
In this fifth instalment of my (growingly popular) series of Q&As with Instagrammers (thanks for all the support!), I’m talking to the guy behind the @fort_box_ feed.
What’s your story?
Birth year: 1985
Location: Berlin, Germany
Profession: Product owner
I live with my partner and our two weirdo cats in Berlin. My family is way south, around 900 km, so I don’t really get to see them often.
My hobbies change with the seasons. Currently, I’m obsessing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But I’m sure I’ll be back into bikes and long rides in the countryside again soon. Ask me again in a week ?
Markus’ Instagram Routines
Thomas: How did it all start with your Instagram feed?
Markus: I was once forced to work in a place where smoking was only allowed in a sad little glass-walled cubicle, and the job was also quite boring, so I spent way too much time in that box.
Eventually, I started taking pictures of myself sitting down over a grey tile floor. They were depressing, so I deleted most of them ?
T: Why Instagram?
M: My goal is to connect with people who share my interests. Facebook is a weird place to find new people, and it mostly consists of ads and politically driven message, so I turned to Instagram to voice my love for all things cotton, wool and leather, as it were.
T: How much time do you spend on it on a daily basis?
M: The content creation probably takes the shortest amount of time to be quite honest, around an hour each day, but between interactions and exploring content, I’m sure it’s about 3 hours.
I’m not so much a story person, but if I were using them to create videos or whatever, I’m sure it would be even more.
T: How do you take your photos?
M: A (great) mirrorless full-frame camera, a very bad tripod, and an even worse aftermarket IR remote. Some pictures are taken by my partner, but I’m aware that commandeering your spouses for your pictures can grow old really quickly, so I try to bear the burden myself.
T: What are your favourite locations to take photos?
M: Southwest wall of my living room, between my table and the balcony door.
T: Which tools do you use? (Both hardware and software)
M: Besides the above-mentioned, I use Lightroom for desktop. I used to use it more when I was doing more photography, so I’m more comfortable with a mouse and big screen than doing anything worthwhile on a touchscreen.
T: Do you make it a priority to post on a regular schedule? And how do you remind yourself of it?
M: By now, it’s become second nature since it’s (mostly) in the morning during my first coffee.
Sometimes, I forget or have other pressing matters to attend to (like for instance not hearing my alarm and having to run to work), but there’s always a way.
I don’t really need reminding, I get notifications from Instagram to make sure my brain remembers it exists ?
T: What’s your editorial flow?
M: Mostly, there’s a white wall and a very photogenic hardwood floor. My poses are more or less natural, maybe I move some clutter outside of the frame.
One of my walls was full of post-it notes for a few months, so it was harder to find a suitable spot at my house. But when we finally realised garbage bags existed that crisis came to an end too.
The real editorial process happens during the shot. I use a prime lens, so I have to decide which areas I can show; there’s no zoom function and the room is only as wide as it is.
So sometimes it’ll be pants downward, sometimes upper body. Full body shots also seem weird sometimes because they lose some of the detail I want to show.
T: Do you repost? (Yes or no? And why or why not?)
M: No. I feel it kind of dilutes the mood I’m trying to create, and I specifically use Instagram as a creative outlet. If I were hard-pressed for time to take a shot of myself, I probably wouldn’t post at all on that day.
Markus’ Denim and Style
T: What is your favourite feature on jeans?
M: I like when jeans look fitted to my body without being too skinny. That requires them to have fewer frills, no cinch backs, and quite small back pockets, so I guess the colour and hand-feel of the fabric is the most important aspect for me.
I like a good peek-a-boo selvedge ID or some crazy colours or a nicely embossed patch, but that’s pretty much like candy. A bit is great, too much is too much.
T: How do you wash your denim?
M: When they require washing, I put them in the washing machine on a low spin cycle, alone and turned inside-out, then hang dry.
I know it’s a bit unorthodox in the literal sense, but I simply cannot be bothered to soak denim to achieve clean jeans. Soaking is great for an initial shrink, but I’m not afraid of losing a bit of indigo in the washing process.
T: What’s your favourite fit? And what’s your least favourite fit?
M: Slim tapered is my jam. I’m trying out more relaxed fits on a BDD-710 or the slim straight Devil’s fit on my IH-666S-21, those are nice too.
I cannot for the life of me imagine myself in bootcut jeans. Or anyone for that matter.
T: Which boots and leather goods do you wear with your denim?
M: I have a few pairs of Red Wings, my current favourite are 9016 Beckman. Trusty, comfy, good value for Goodyear welted boots.
T: Which sneakers do you wear?
M: Currently having a love affair with a pair of Vans Old Skools in vintage white/vintage indigo.
T: Favourite item that’s not denim or leather?
M: 3sixteen linen-cotton-mix Prison shirt. This thing looks amazing!
T: Where do you buy your gear?
M: Mostly online from Cultizm or directly from brands. If I’m brave enough, I’ll go to an actual shop like Burg&Schild in Berlin, but I really have to be ready to spend money, because the minute I enter there is probably no way out of it.
T: What styling tips would you give your followers if they wanted your style?
M: Just wear what you like to wear and feel confident in. There’s no use wearing heavy western shirts if you don’t like the western style (I’m not particularly fond of it on my body, so there’s no real point in me wearing something like that).
Feeling bulletproof and confident in an outfit is the best you can achieve. What kind of style you wear comes (way) after that.
… Want To Meet More Blue Bloods?
And that concludes the fifth instalment in the series of Q&A with Blue Blooded Instagrammers! If you haven’t done so already, remember to follow Markus on Instagram!
Next week, you can read @thedenimjournal‘s story.