Fletch Maps Out The Earth

Angelina Mahaphom

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Behind @mapoftheearth

If any students know history and social studies teacher Jim Fletcher, they know that he has a passion for photography.  In fact, he is well-known for his Instagram account that’s filled with many photographs that he has taken himself.

Fletch’s Instagram account, @mapoftheearth, consists of  many different photos. The Instagram photos show the tremendous range of Fletch’s talent.  Shots vary from long exposures of light, to animals, to landscapes of nature and more. If you take a look at his account, Fletcher doesn’t use Instagram the way most people use it.  Most people are incredibly vain and use their Instagram as a personal account about themselves.

On the contrary, posting about his life is just not his style.  He doesn’t see or feel the need to post about himself.  Don’t be misled; he includes a few pictures of himself, but these have a purpose. He’s in his own long exposure shots that include him spinning lights — because he’s needed to create the effect.  The photographs follow his username, “map of the earth.”

So how did he come up with the name of his account? Fletch explains that when the Air Force flies low to the ground, it is called “map of the earth.” That explains the landscapes photographs on his Instagram, as well as the long exposure shots.  

Fletch, said he first picked up a camera at the age 13 or 14 and automatically fell in love with photography.  He started to really get into photography, when he was in the Boy Scouts. During high school, he and his best friend started a wedding photography business.  This successful part-time business lasted for ten years. After that, Fletch worked taking stock photos for agencies. In this gig, magazine editors would ask him to take pictures of random things for them to use for an issue.  

The Instagram account development is a different story. Fletch says he started his account because his daughter Victoria, who was also into photography, begged him to take her to the “Instameet” to meet famous photographers. One of the Instagram photographers examined some of Fletch’s work and could tell he  was a photographer with a unique talent. He invited Fletch to the next Instameet, but notified him there was one condition. In order to get into the Instameet, he would need to have an Instagram account. Fletch never wanted to be on social media, but the Justin (the Instagram photographer) convinced him to create the account for his photography.  Not only did he get @mapoftheearth out of it, but he also earned invites to subsequent Instameets for his daughter.

Considering, the fact that he has been behind a camera since thirteen, you can tell through his pictures how much he loves the art of the photography.  The quality of the pictures is remarkable. Each post post reveals incredible detail. Fletch has even taken close up shots of complex patterns such as spider webs.  In theses type of pictures, you can see each weave the spider has created, and the reflection of the sun hitting the web.

“I think his feed is very intriguing, and it’s good to know that we have a creative teacher on campus who can also relate to the students,” senior Devon Rensfield said. Others echo this sentiment that it is great to see that students at Clairemont are interested in what one of their teachers does out of school.

Fletch his interest wanes and waxes. “I am as dedicated as I am interested,” said Fletch.  

“I like his recent photo of the tiger.  You can tell he captured the tiger in action. Action shots are usually blurry, yet Fletch got the photo to come out so clear and vivid,” senior Daniel Torales raved. This shows how familiar Fletch is with the camera and the settings.  

“I really like his landscape pictures because you get the vibe that you are there sitting and looking the stars, the sunset or whatever the photo is,” senior Lindsay Pierce explained.  

Fletch says that when he is not interested in taking pictures he will not post.  That is how he explains his dedication for @mapoftheearth. “If I am inactive with my account, yeah people may unfollow, but I mean I’m okay with that,” Fletch says about his Instagram.  

With the heart of an artist, he focuses on his work — not on acquiring fame and fortune.   

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