Seeing Frisco through a new lens

Three, two, one,  click.

With a Nikon D3100 DSLR camera in her hand, senior Urja Joshi is exploring Frisco as part of her Independent Studies Mentorship project. 

“I’m using ISM this year to learn more about other types of photography as well,” Joshi said. “I chose photography for ISM because it’s a class and I’m kind of forced to do it so that I’m more motivated.”

Taking pictures of her friends, including 2019 graduate Vaishnavi Anna, is one of Joshi’s photography pursuits.
(Urja Joshi)

It all started about two and a half years ago when Joshi started taking pictures and grew in the summer of 2020 when she launched her own photography business and an account on Instagram called urjajoshiphotography.

“Well, I’m going to be honest, I started out with photography just to get Instagram-worthy pictures,” Joshi said. ¨But I think the more I started to do it, the more I started to fall in love with the actual art of photography.”

Having to start somewhere, Joshi took her opportunity with her friends.

“I started out with photoshoots, I started by taking pictures of people and people taking pictures of me,” Joshi said. “So that’s just what I became knowledgeable and comfortable with. It’s basically portrait photography.”

“It was nice having Urja as a photographer because we have known each other since freshman year,” Joshi’s friend Gabriella Salazar said via email. “She is very talented and it’s exciting to see her photography business grow.” 

Managing school and other activities can be difficult when one has a limited schedule. 

“Last year, I really didn’t pursue it at all,” Joshi said. “As a junior, I was extremely busy, and I had nothing pushing me to do photography. So it just went on the side, If I had photoshoots with friends, that’s how I would do it.”

This year has added another layer of changes as Joshi decided to stay at home as a virtual student during COVID-19

Taking pictures throughout the city, such as Frisco Lebanon Church, Joshi is discovering news things about where she lives. The original location of the Lebanon Church was in a field on Preston Road, just south of La Hacienda Ranch Restaurant. But after the church outgrew its 100 year old sanctuary, it was rolled across town and donated to the Frisco Heritage Center. (Urja Joshi)

“When I first opened up, I got like three clients in a span of two weeks. And then it was just nothing, nothing for a long time,” Joshi said. “But, in November, I had a photoshoot every week.”

Almost every photographer has a favorite place to take photos and for Joshi, it’s a place close to home.

“I’ve been trying to do photography in multiple places but my go-to location is actually the trail in my neighborhood,” Joshi said. “It’s in the Hunters Creek neighborhood, it’s a beautiful place no matter the season.”

But she wants to expand her horizons beyond her neighborhood. 

“In America, homelessness, poverty, and malnutrition are not very prevalent, sometimes people grow up without really understanding these issues,” Joshi said. “I want to bring exposure to these issues so that people can feel something to be motivated to bring a change.”

While many may abandon their hobbies or businesses later on, Joshi wants to pursue photography after graduation.

“I hope to improve and get more professional equipment and grow my business. I want to keep doing my business on the side through college and through life,” she said. “My dream job is to travel the world and take pictures of different cultures and things.”