Joshua Duttweiler


To sum up 2017

At the end of 2016 I wasn’t sure how I could have any better of a year, yet somehow 2017 blew it out of the water in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It’s finally the New Year and I have moment to catch my breath. I am overwhelmed and incredibly grateful for everything that was accomplished throughout the past 365 days and I’m amazed that each year is more incredible than the last.

This year marks some incredible accomplishments and fulfillments of life long dreams. After some crazy late nights, I completed my Masters of Graphic Design at Boston University. My thesis project stretched me and allowed me to work with new media and tell stories in meaningful new ways. The stories of those around us need to be heard now more than ever. I had the incredible opportunity to travel widely, including the trip to Spain as well as a cross-country road-trip. Looking at the map, I visited 22 states this year, most of which I had never been to before, especially those out west. It has been a dream of mine to visit Spain since I was in high school and the two weeks spent exploring all over the country will leave special memories. The moments that stand out especially are the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, swimming in the warm Mediterranean, walking amongst the Spanish moss covered trees in Savannah and reuniting with friends in the Dominican Republic. Honestly, there are more wonderful memories than I can write down.

I started 2017 with the intention to practice writing and making my daily Instagram posts a means of ensuring that I would actually write each day. And it’s been hard. There were some good days and some bad days and some days where I just had time on the T ride home to scribble down a few thoughts. I enjoyed the space to just try things out, playing with words, with poems and stories. I doubt many of these words are noteworthy, but I loved the creative outlet. I’m excited to see how writing will continue to play a role in future work.

A special shout-out to my brides and grooms − this year’s wedding season was incredible as always. I’m so grateful that they would allow me to be a part of their special day and trust me to capture this part of their stories. Many many thanks!

Graduating from grad school saw a major shift for me as I started to determine what life is like outside of the school environment. Having been in school almost continuously for 18 years the transition away from that has brought its own set of challenges. A lot of the struggle was related to determining my relationship with work. Solely freelancing for about 5 months afterwards brought incredible freedom and flexibility to my life and allowed me to travel widely and use my time as I saw fit. It also created a heavy dependency on clients and the timeline of projects. Some days were slow and some were endless. Finding that balance between work and life, getting into a rhythm was a struggle. I certainly learned a lot about myself during this period. I learned the importance of using my time wisely and always looking ahead. The usual entrepreneur struggles were present, from untimely clients to poor communication, all teaching my valuable lessons. I learned that I love working for myself and choosing my projects and that when my life is less financially impacted by higher education I may return to this way of working. Pursuing and eventually securing full-time employment was a challenge on its own but the reward has been exciting so far. It’s been another adjustment to see time not always as my own. Working inside the rules of a larger organization can sometimes feel limiting but can often be overcome by seeking even more creative solutions. Relentless determination is key in all aspects of work both in order to be successfully but to also recognize my value when things aren’t going as planned.

I’m most proud of the bodies of work I was able create outside of both work and school. Supported by wonderful other creators, I was able to produce a portrait series, Grown. This was something I could not have done alone. Through collaboration we were able to create something even better than we could have imagined individually. Many thanks to the talented artists that came alongside me this year. You’re an inspiration to work harder, explore creatively and follow my passions.

So where to next? Honestly I’m not sure. Again I feel that this past year will be hard to top but that makes me even more excited to see how it happens. I’m excited to create more, to continue pushing my love of storytelling and portraiture even further. My latest obsession with plants and portraiture will continue to inform my portrait work, I’m sure. This year’s wedding season is going to be the bomb and I can’t wait work with you all. I’m also turning my passion for teaching into reality at BU this year. This year hasn’t been easy, but it’s been rewarding and I couldn’t ask for more.

The biggest shout-out goes to the people in my life. I am surrounded by incredible friends, family, and creatives that share constantly in the adventures, whether big or small. They provide inspiration, encouragement, and criticism, pushing me to be better. The community that has surrounded me is more than I could ever ask for and I will forever be grateful. For now, I rest. Pausing to recover, to reflect and restore, getting ready for what’s ahead. I’m not sure what 2018 has in store but I’m excited to find out. I’m excited for the challenges, for the opportunities and the new mountains to climb.

What caught my eye can seem wide and varied but then again, why limit myself. Here are a few of my favorite images from the year.