© Joyce Lin



February 2006- Los Angeles, CA
Joyce Lin
Senior staff photographer/UCLA Daily Bruin/Los Angeles, CA


I pop out of bed at 7 AM, do some morning exercises, spruce up, plan for the day, stuff an orange in my mouth, and then bike down to Kinross, my art building. I don’t emerge from Kinross until 5 PM, when I wearily pedal back up to main campus to edit, pull wire, and caption photos until around 10 PM as the Assistant Photo Editor of my campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin. Back at my apartment, I try to finish the day’s work and leftover work from the previous day, finally falling asleep on the floor, crawling into bed around 3 AM, exhausted
All that ended 2 weeks ago. I quit my editing position of 5 months, coming to terms with just how much I hated it. Quitting the job gave me my life back. Instead of rushing to the office after class every night, I could hangout with friends, exercise, catch up on work; even get some needed rest.

Working as an editor helped me better appreciate my old editors and understand their actions and attitudes. I remember being bitter whenever they didn’t take the time to go through my shoot and just wordlessly accepted my photos or bluntly and brutally put me down for the bad photos. Well, as I learned, editing is a highly stressful and busy job. The work never ends. I rarely left a night of work without getting a phone call to “come back! We have something more!” seconds after stepping out of the building.

I originally signed on for the job to learn more about photo editing and the newsroom itself. Little did I know that I would spend so much time and energy in the photo cubicle, jealously watching other photographers trooping in and out on shoots as I just sat there lamely handing out and advising on equipment, then unhappily editing and captioning others’ shoots afterwards, rarely photographing myself. The work was never-ending and unrewarding: pulling wire photos, dealing with disgruntled editors from other sections constantly shrieking, “deadline! Deadline!” as I’m trying to do work… most painful of all pulling file photos, sometimes searching for hours for the one perfect photo of an obscure person, especially athletes, who aren’t photographed much.
I think I learned a lot, not as much as I would’ve liked, but enough to know that I can never become an editor or work a nine-to-five desk job; I’d go insane with boredom and cabin fever. Staying in the photo cubicle for such long hours and under such negative conditions really turned me off to the whole newsroom. I dreaded going to work and avoided the newsroom as much as possible, which is a total change from how I started as a newspaper photographer, hanging out in the newsroom every free moment.

Photo-editing for the paper is usually a quick twiddling of levels, curves, color balance, some cursory dodging and burning, and then cropping and sharpening, finally converting to CYMK, RGB and black and white. I usually rushed through the editing process, dealing with the rest of the newsroom as little as I could, engrossed in pulling file photos as quickly as possible just so I could get out of the windowless horridity and go home to finish my other work… and maybe sleep.

The past few weeks have been amazing. I’m unemployed again, and it’s a wonderfully free feeling, albeit a little empty. Some new experiences include rock walling in our gym, midnight biking for 55 miles with a group of 1000 bikers, hiking at 2 AM above the 405 freeway, Greek dancing, etc. Most importantly, my photography is on the upswing again. I discovered that part of the reason my photography was in a slump was because I was too worn out by the end of each day to shoot, and the mixture of too many classes and the editing work gave me no time to shoot at all. Nowadays, after class, instead of rushing off to the office, I can stop and think: what do I want to do now? Bike to the beach? Read a book? Make some photos?

You never realize just how wonderful unemployment is until you get a job, lose your free time, and have to work with a set schedule. I get four more months of parental monetary support and allowable unemployment as a student before I’m booted into the harsh real world, penniless and desperate for a job, with useless diploma in hand and heavy camera around my neck. So, I’m enjoying life right now, literally trying everything possible, and savoring the post-lecture question-to-self, “What now?”



Joyce Lin




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