This year marks the 50th anniversary of the University of Toronto Mississauga campus. In September 1967, Erindale College welcomed its first generation of students and staff, totaling just over 200 (including students, staff, and faculty). The UTM community now boasts approximately 16, 500 members. As the campus looks back on half a century of innovation, Arjun Yadav is capturing the essence of UTM as the newly-appointed photographer laureate.
Arjun Yadav is a UTM alumnus who graduated from the CCIT program in 2016. He began taking photos of UTM when he first arrived from Lucknow, India. He wanted an outlet to familiarize himself with the campus, but it soon turned into a talent for photography.
“I was an international student and stayed on residence for my first three years. It was so beautiful, and I couldn’t help but take pictures. I started off with my smartphone and just went from there,” Yadav says.
Although Yadav has only been taking photos for about three years, a quick scroll through his Instagram feed demonstrates a photographer with an inherent eye for capturing beautiful moments. His thoughtfully-composed natural landscapes glow with warm tones. These images are reminiscent of National Geographic, which he cites as a major influence.
Yadav’s aerial shots are particularly intriguing, which he takes using camera drones. “That was something I was trying as a hobby, which I had been doing for a long time. [Drones were] something that no one anticipated—they all talked about flying cars, but never flying cameras,” he says with a chuckle.
In fact, in one of Yadav’s marketing classes at UTM, he was able to experiment with “flying cameras.” On his Instagram feed, you can see images of winding roads, shot from above.
As the photographer laureate, Yadav’s role involves creating a snapshot of the UTM campus throughout the year. “[UTM] wants to have a record, in pictures, of the campus throughout the year, how it changes seasonally,” Yadav explains. He has already posted three photos on the official UTM50 Instagram. The first photo depicts the Research Greenhouse, glowing from within as snow falls outside.
Although January just ended, anniversary celebrations are already underway. On UTM’s 50th Anniversary website, you can find their “50 Faces” series. The series spotlights 50 people from UTM’s community, highlighting their contributions to the school. The website also offers the “50 Challenge,” which is an opportunity for people to share their memories of Erindale College and UTM. Fifty stories will be selected to help capture the identity of UTM today.
In addition to these initiatives, Yadav also wants to capture the landscape of the campus, particularly during the winter. He also wishes to showcase the personality of the architecture and to commemorate the famous UTM deer.
“I’ve been given a lot of freedom. I can come [to campus] whenever I want and post photos,” Yadav says. He describes his creative process as “spontaneous,” which, when coupled with his creative freedom in this project, will certainly yield dynamic photos of UTM.