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The Daily Illini ran three of the photos I shot for Quad Day last year today. This was one of them. They also ran a few of my old photos during the summer, only now I am credited as Daily Illini File Photo. This is something I don’t understand. In almost all cases the DI knows who took the photos because the captions stay with the photos. Why not credit the photographer even if he doesn’t work for the paper any more? It’s not as if the person no longer deserves credit. I guess according to the DI, I am no longer a person.
I wonder how many other reporters/photographers become lost among the “File Photos.” I find it disturbing not because I want my name in the paper, but because it utterly destroys a part of the paper’s history. College papers already suffer from a quick loss of institutional memory due to their typical restructuring and entirely new staff every half year, why throw away what history can be maintained. The paper is run on the backs of the current staff, but it was built on the backs of the staff before them. The prior staff of the Daily Illini will remember the paper, but neither the paper nor anyone else will remember them. Again, I make this argument not so much for myself, because I can’t consider myself having made a huge difference for the DI, but rather for editors and reporters who did make a lasting difference. I’m talking about the people who poured a few years of their lives into evolving the paper for nothing more than a quick reference on page A2 and the hope of a few drinks with some friends at the end of the night. I find it kind of depressing, but then again maybe it’s just me looking back on some now fading memories.
I will be remaining at UIUC to attend graduate school, most likely for 4-5 years, but I will no longer be working for the DI; at least for this year. Technically I am under contract with the State as a graduate student which dictates that I can not hold any other jobs. During this first year of graduate school I know I will not have time for that anyways since I will probably need to spend about 85% of “free time” studying so I can pass graduate level Thermo and Qualification Exams. If I don’t pass these I will be removed from the graduate program. After that I can most likely talk my professor into letting me work for the DI again if I still want to.
The DI had its good aspects and its bad aspects for me. I ended up having to shoot a lot of shit that I didn’t have any interest in at all, like a garage sale for example, but I did get the opportunity to shoot things which I never would have gotten access to otherwise, like E3. It was sometimes a pain putting up with certain people or trying to work around broken gear that I sometimes desperately needed to do my job, but overall I think it was a good experience. I know that I am now a better photographer for it and I defiantly had some fun along the way. Perhaps the nicest thing is that the job kept me shooting even when I wouldn’t think I would have time for it otherwise. It also kept sending me to events that I otherwise would have never experienced while an undergrad here at UIUC. I am glad that I did it in the end. The question is should I go back next year? I am not sure if I will have outgrown it or not. It’s hard to base the decision on anything else besides whether or not I will enjoy it and become a better photographer for it since the DI will have become and entirely different beast by then with entirely new people.
Enough of all of this rambling though, the one thing I would really like to do is thank Yoshi for making me get out there and work for the paper. Yoshi has been a best friend of mine since the beginning of high school (over 6 years now) and I couldn’t have asked for a better friend. Whether it was support, advice, debates, drinking, fun or just taking the next step Yoshi was there. Thank you Kiyoshi Martinez.