by Joyce Lin
Contributor/ UCLA Daily Bruin/ Los Angeles, CA

Morning Shooting Rituals-
3/12/05, Glendora, CA

© Joyce Lin

Morning ritual photo: groggy from waking up too late, yet pleased by the sunlight and promise of a gorgeous day.

I made the "morning rituals" pic outside. I woke up later than usual that day, and the sun was already out (I usually wake up before the sun), so I went outside, laid the camera on the grass, and tried a soft-focus backlighting effect with me showering the camera with flowers, but soft-focus so that it's abstract and not too literal (and cliche). I was feeling happy that morning, thus the flowers and bright nature of the photograph, which I think succeeded.

Something I just started (I got the idea from a message board post) is shooting every morning, immediately after I wake up, before I formally start my day. I’ve been doing the shoot-every-morning ritual for about a week now, and I can verily say it’s the best morning-ritual yet, and usually my favorite part of the day. There’s just something so delicious about popping out of bed, then, even before going to the bathroom or brushing my teeth, just taking the moment to ask myself, “How do I feel right now?” (In the mornings, I have different moods, depending on the sleep situation: if I over-sleep, then I feel either groggy or angry. If I get up early with the appropriate amount of sleep, then I feel energized and excited to start the day. If I fall asleep wrong (ie. At my desk) then I feel stressed and confused. Etc…) I then try to make a photograph which conveys that mood. The shoots usually last about half an hour. I can’t say that I’ve really succeeded in conveying all of my morning moods yet. Most of the resulting photographs are rather intimate, because I’m usually not inclined to rush out of my room sans morning cleaning or dressing rituals with nothing but my camera, therefore I am usually confined to my room. The morning shootings, however, allow experimentation with lighting (both natural and manipulated) and a certain bit of playing around with the camera (such as soft focus, weird lighting, and odd compositions) which usually isn’t possible in a formal shooting situation. The morning-shooting ritual allows me to start off the day with creativity and the camera (a perfect mix) while encouraging experimentation through the absolutely free situation. No one ever has to look at these photographs beside myself, which let’s me play with them with no qualms whatsoever. What a wonderful way to wake up!


Photographic Passion Superceding Academic Motivation- 2/15/05, Los Angeles, CA

It’s so difficult motivating myself to stay interested in my studies, now that I am so serious about photojournalism. I find everything else so futile and stupid; all I want to do is shoot. What is the point of learning this art history and art theory? I need to apply my knowledge to the world; that’s the only way to gain more knowledge, through experience! Sitting around and reading, listening to lectures, and writing papers does absolutely nothing for me, especially in this desired field…

There are several potential stories that really interest me back in Glendora, but my weekends haven’t been free to return home to shoot. Actually, most takes place during the week, and I also need the weekdays to get in touch with these people so I actually can follow them about and shoot them. I find it’s much easier shooting someone when it’s already been arranged for me; I hate all this preliminary calling, waiting, and recalling. It’s rather annoying, especially, when they don’t call back. Man, life would be so much easier if I could just… shoot.

Questioning the Passion- 3/10/05, Los Angeles, CA

I sent out about 10 applications for newspaper photojournalism internships about a month ago, and just received 2 replies: one rejection and one postcard informing me that they received my application. What took so long? Why is it taking so long? I anxiously await replies from all of the other papers. From postings, I’ve gathered that most students send out about 30-40 applications. I applied to mostly smaller papers, since I know it’s nearly impossible for me to get an internship with a larger newspaper, since I’ve currently only worked for the school paper and this tiny little weekly paper back home. However, I NEED a summer internship if I ever want to proceed with this job (or at least get started once I graduate), since graduation looms in about a year. This will be my final summer as a college student! This is my last chance before I hit the real world! Man, this is scary… I hope they will reply positively. I wish they would at least just call or email to let me know that they received my application. I worked really hard on pulling together a portfolio. It’s been so difficult to shoot recently, due to my several upper division classes. There was a period when I privileged my shooting over my studies, and experienced some nice improvement in my photography… and horrible decline in my grades. Those are the times when I wish I was free of this darn college and out in the real world learning, working on, and improving my photography. Truly, all I want to do is shoot… at this moment. Sometimes I question if this passion is for real, if I can truly sustain this interest in photography for the rest of my life. Right now, I think it’s the greatest thing ever, and there is so much to learn and explore. Right now, I feel as if there’d be nothing better to do than spend the rest of my life making photographs. But what if that changes? I can’t see that far; I can only see the present… and I presently feel as if this is truly my future, and what I want to do for the rest of my life. My parents are against the decision, however. They feel like it’s an unstable profession and I won’t be able to sustain myself. They’d prefer for me to become a teacher or something “that gets a stable source of income.” Newspaper staff photographers get a stable source of income, albeit a low income. Magazine photographers pull a pretty hefty income, but it’s more up-and-down. I don’t know; I don’t know. We’ll see… regardless of what they and everyone else says, I’m just going to keep going with what I’m doing , because ultimately, it’s my life, and I’ll never be able to determine what’s right or wrong for me until I reach that stage of my life and experience it for myself.


Joyce Lin


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