Viewfinder: Student Captures Fresh Looks at Familiar Landscapes

Viewfinder: Student Captures Fresh Looks at Familiar Landscapes

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Joshua Crane’s passion for photographing the University of Virginia began the same way it does for many: with a cellphone camera.

When Crane, a full-time writer and part-time UVA student, transferred into UVA’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies in the fall of 2016 to pursue an interdisciplinary major with a concentration in philosophy, he brought with him a camera, a hobby and the willingness to be inspired.

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Despite not being a professional photographer before moving to Charlottesville, his keen eye for photography quickly earned him an esteemed place in the community.

“My passion really started to kick up when I started school here,” Crane said. “I started as most people do, using my phone to take pictures of the Rotunda, but I wanted to explore some different perspectives and add a bit more uniqueness to my images. That’s where I really started ramping up my interest and my skills in the photography world.”

Crane first began photographing Grounds with his cellphone camera in 2016. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)
Crane first began photographing Grounds with his cellphone camera in 2016. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

UVA is extremely photogenic. While many students enjoy the breathtaking views of Grounds, Crane takes this appreciation a step further, dedicating his highly successful Instagram account, “Hoowithaview,” to capturing the beauty of the University’s Grounds.

“I will remember this vivid Cavalier-color sunrise for the rest of my life,” Crane said. (Photo by Joshua Crane)
“I will remember this vivid Cavalier-color sunrise for the rest of my life,” Crane said. (Photo by Joshua Crane)

While his Instagram account is only a year old, it is already extremely popular, both on and off Grounds, with more than 3,700 followers (and counting). Crane created his internet persona as a way to connect those who had already left UVA with the splendor they fell in love with while they were in Charlottesville.

“Charlottesville is a transient town,” Crane said. “So many of my friends have come and gone from the area over the years. Sharing images with those who have since left has been a wonderful way of connecting those who love UVA together.”

Crane’s Instagram account presents a rainbow of UVA skies to its followers. (Photo by Joshua Crane)
Crane’s Instagram account presents a rainbow of UVA skies to its followers. (Photo by Joshua Crane)

Crane’s favorite time to photograph Grounds is early morning, when the color and vibrancy his photographs have come to be known for are especially prominent. For Crane, the silence of the morning also adds to the mystique.

“There’s never anybody around; I can count on one finger the amount of times I have run into another photographer on the Lawn taking a sunrise shot,” he said. “And despite my friendly encouragement, I’ve yet to see a single Lawnie roll out of bed to take a picture at sunrise.”

The moon hangs above the Rotunda at sunrise, Crane’s favorite time to photograph Grounds. “The inky blue hour skies combined with the first hint of morning color make for a magnificent view,” he said. (Photo by Joshua Crane)
The moon hangs above the Rotunda at sunrise, Crane’s favorite time to photograph Grounds. “The inky blue hour skies combined with the first hint of morning color make for a magnificent view,” he said. (Photo by Joshua Crane)

Enhancing the fond memories that individuals form while at UVA is one of Crane’s main photographic goals.

Because of this, his photography does not stop with landscape and architecture shots. Despite starting out as a landscape photographer, Crane has found graduate photo shoots to be unexpectedly fulfilling.

“One surprising element that came out of this is how much I’ve enjoyed photographing people,” he said. “It’s a blast to be able to create something emotionally enjoyable that they can look back on after they’ve graduated.

As a part-time student with a full-time job, Crane said that his studies in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies inspire not only his work as a photographer, but also his curiosity and creativity as a writer. Similarly, photographing Grounds has influenced the capstone project for his philosophy concentration, which he will begin writing next year.

“I’m fascinated by the innate creativity that lies within all of us,” he said. “It’s amazing to see creative expression come into being in so many different avenues. We’re in a time now where photography is an emotionally enriching way of connecting people together. I really like that.”

Visit Crane’s website to view his full portfolio, and check out “Hoowithaview” on Instagram.

Media Contact

Caroline Newman

Associate Editor Office of University Communications