Living through a lens

Student photographer captures urban scenes with unique eye

Image supplied by: Supplied by John Fleming

In his final year of university, John Fleming is patiently taking a shot at his dream of becoming a filmmaker. 

“You want to find your passion, and if you [can] make a living off it, then that’s your career. That’s what people should do, in my opinion,” Fleming, ArtSci ’18, said.

Despite his love for cinema, Fleming at the moment is focused on his interest in photography as a stepping stone in his hopes to eventually becomes a filmmaker, planning to develop his skills behind the camera before jumping to the art of motion pictures.   

“I started trying to make film [but] there’s a lot of work that goes into that,” Fleming said. “So, I started to backtrack, then I got into photography as a way of practicing my photogenic eye.”

Fleming has mainly learned his skills from his stepdad who’s a photography hobbyist, often borrowing his lenses to experiment with. Recently, the two have begun to use drones, something Fleming  wants to bring into photography and film in the future.  

“I’m lucky to have [my stepdad] as a resource,” Fleming said. “I think his support and insight has really given me an edge in picking up certain techniques quickly, but at the same time I’ve put in a lot of time into learning techniques on my own.”

Besides this influence, Fleming also admits to gaining a lot of his own expertise from hours upon hours of watching YouTube videos Everything from finding the best lighting to using a certain effect on Adobe Premiere or After Effects, Youtube has often been there to teach him what he wants 

to learn.

Away from the screen, Fleming is interested in “just seeing people live their lives” through street   and urban photography. He often walks the streets hoping to capture candid moments he can share and make into something more special than a run-of-the-mill, everyday scene. Fleming explained his belief that photography allows for the unique chance to tell a story in a single frame.

“I try to catch people in candid, but if I catch someone looking at me, I’ll look at them, smile, and point at my camera [to ask] if they want to take a photo,” he said, aware some may not want their pictures taken. 

Fleming explained his determination to capture anything that catches his eye, even if it means sometimes stopping a person to ask for a photograph. This inspiration came into play this past weekend when he visited Toronto.

Intrigued by the sight of a homeless man with a cat on his shoulders, Fleming inquired about taking his picture and was instructed to donate a sum of money in order to do so. 

Back on campus, Fleming’s creative impulses are practiced in Studio Q as a staff photographer, while his remaining work and projects are shared on his Instagram 

account @visualframeofmind.

“The goal is to get into film full-time, but until that point, I’ll probably just be working some job and doing it [film] on the side.” For now, Fleming has some freelance work lined up back in his homeland of Newfoundland. 

Long-term, he hopes to travel to Iceland with his stepdad for a photography and filmmaking 

trip opportunity.

As for those who wish to take on a new hobby, Fleming says it’s not about genius; it’s more 

about self-expression. 

“It’s just about embracing the learning curve,” he said. “If you want to paint something, it doesn’t have to be the next Picasso. It could be something that you appreciate or others appreciate. You should just do it. Do it 

for yourself.”


Film, photography, student artist

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