Philadelphia has its many wonders and beautiful views. From the edges of the Northeast to those of South, Philadelphia is full of unique and lively scenes, all of which the city’s photographers strive to capture in pictures. John Yuhas (279), a student at Central High School, is pursuing his passion for immortalizing the City of Brotherly Love with his Canon.
John Yuhas explains how he loves to tell stories, even though he is not that strong of a writer. He was never quite talented at painting, nor did he ever find a knack for poetry. However, John discovered that photography helped him express his emotions and allowed him to be creative in the same way that sketching or writing might do for other artists. “I try to tell stories through the pictures I take on my camera,” Yuhas tells me. He strives to display for his audience a little scene on a street corner, capture the movement and beauty of a landscape, or the decades of history in an old Philadelphia building in a still picture taken from his Canon camera. Some of his shoots include everyday pictures of Philadelphia civilians buying and selling at South Philadelphia’s Italian Market, or in markets in Chinatown, each picture somehow managing to capture the moment of the lively interaction.
Yuhas traces his passion for his city back to when he was a kid, walking around the city in awe of the proudly standing skyscrapers, ones that had clearly earned their title. His love for Philadelphia’s architecture grew and developed into a curiosity about Philadelphia as a whole, a curiosity that today drives him to adventure through every corner and crevice of the city. His passion for photography he traces back to the eighth grade. A friend had introduced him to the photography pages that had slowly began to litter the breakthrough social media app, Instagram. Just as John once looked in awe at Philly’s great skyscrapers, John found himself looking the same way at the work of these photographers. “It immediately inspired me, urged me to use my iPhone to capture moments of my own life,” he says. As his curiosity and love for his city grew, so did his love for photography. The adventures he once captured on his iPhone soon were snapped on professional cameras, and John slowly began to turn his passions into something greater than a simple hobby.
As a student, John faces many obstacles when it comes to his photography. One of them being the rigorous nature of Central High School, in particular the International Baccalaureate Program that he is enrolled in. Because it is his junior year and his first year in the IB Program, John says he often finds it difficult to find time to do what he loves most. John often finds himself swamped by school work and also struggling to balance extracurricular activities such as rowing. Fortunately, for the sake of making time for his photography, John is learning to manage his time and avoid the procrastination that many of his peers also struggle with. Whether it means giving up his advisory period, lunch period, or staying up later than usual, John refuses to give up on his passion and continuously makes time for weekly shoots.
While many students dabble in art, singing, or other hobbies, unlike the majority, John is already working to turn his hobby into a career. John’s projects include offering photoshoots to clients and even takes pictures of Central’s varsity basketball team, capturing intense moments during games and practices. He has even dabbled in film, with a long-term project that he has slowly been putting together in which he documents people’s life stories in video snippets He is also helping rising Philadelphia rappers with creating visuals for their music and their social media. One of the key parts of John’s journey towards pursuing a career path in photography is building his portfolio, consisting of a multitude of projects and social media presence. John strategically uses one of this decade’s greatest developments as a part of his business, creating an online portfolio both on Instagram (@urbnvisual) and his own website (urbnvisual.com/). By displaying his work and making it accessible to the public, he makes it easier for himself to be discovered, both by potential clients and by potential collaborators.
“I wish to do more with photography in the future, but I still want to stay focused on my schoolwork and make sure that I am opening up as many opportunities as possible for myself,” Yuhas explains to me. John has already taken major steps towards his dream of entering the commercial visual arts scene by picking up a variety of projects, ranging from concerts to professional photoshoots to films. Slowly, but surely, he is building up his portfolio and in doing so, he is opening up for himself a career path filled with passion. John has not only become the photographers that he once admired in the eighth grade, but he has exceeded them by doing it all at the age of 16.
Follow John Yuhas on Instagram @urbnvisual.
Check out his website: urbnvisual.com/.
Christopher Lorenzo (279)