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I captured countless memories, a new outlook on life at The Bruin -30-

Ashley Kenney stands for a portrait. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

By Ashley Kenney

June 4, 2022 7:14 p.m.

I joined the Daily Bruin to take some pictures, not to do journalism.

Photography has always been a passion of mine, and before the Daily Bruin, I used my cameras to take graduation photos and portraits of my high school friends. The rules of photojournalism were not in my camera’s manual.

To me, the Daily Bruin was, at first, an opportunity to look through my lens more often and become more acquainted with UCLA. On my application, I spent more time answering the question about what animal I would be than the question about photojournalism – bald eagle, by the way. Seeing my Photo editor, Amy Dixon, attend Coachella on behalf of The Bruin was my primary motivation in becoming an editor and my ultimate Daily Bruin bucket list item.

Four years later, though, I look through my camera lens as a photojournalist. Now, the campus is a backdrop to my arts portraits, and the animals on campus are sometimes my subjects. Four years later, I’m finishing my second year as an editor of a multimedia section that published more than one hundred journalistic galleries during my tenure – and yes, I got to go to Coachella.

But I almost didn’t apply to be an editor, despite the efforts of my predecessors to convince me otherwise. My assistant editor application was typed at the speed of light and turned in just two minutes before the deadline.

My first year of editorship was spent at home, hunched over a Zoom screen as I edited FaceTime photo shoot after FaceTime photo shoot. Depressing as it might sound, Daily Bruin became my tether to the real world. I looked forward to every online editor meeting we spent making mood boards and Daily Bruin Hunger Games fancasts to every late-night Slack across time zones. Even while working remotely, I loved every minute of being an editor, and I could not picture my senior year without it.

When I returned to campus, the office looked a lot different than the soggy and wall-less place I left behind in 2020. Now repaired and filled with plants, Kerckhoff 118 became my second home. It’s where I spent late nights working on production, where I listened to new Taylor Swift songs and where I opened my MCAT score.

In-person editorship made every moment feel renewed through my lens. I traded stadium seats for the sideline photos and YouTube concert videos for press passes. Instead of virtual meetings and assignment desks, I got to see my interns blossom before me into photographers that continuously inspire and motivate me to be a better leader and photojournalist.

But sometimes, the camera flashes made it look like a dream.

My time as an editor was not without its hardships. The Daily Bruin gave me nightmares, and at times, crippling guilt and anxiety over decisions I made. I sacrificed my sleep and my time off to meet the looming pressure of deadlines and time pegs. There was not a moment where the stressors and responsibilities of the Daily Bruin didn’t plague my thoughts.

However, my time in the Daily Bruin also taught me that not every picture is perfect. Editorship has made me laugh and cry and feel frustrated like nothing else. But this paper and its people have made me who I am today.

Thank you to Kanishka, Lauren and Daanish for keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and for helping me become the photographer and editor that I am today.

To my oatmilkers, Anika, David and Sakshi – I couldn’t have asked for a better team of assistants to lead Photo this past year. Thank you for putting up with my endless Slack messages, being crazy enough to secure a Nobu reservation and girlbossing our section to new levels.

And Emily, for being by my side through our journey in this newspaper, for being the receiving end of my rants, stories and antics, and for being my taller best friend, thank you.

As I graduate and step away from the Daily Bruin, I may be putting my camera down for photojournalism as well. Scuffed around the edges and memory card full, the Daily Bruin gave me and my camera a newfound view of the world and one that I’ll always turn back to.

I joined the Daily Bruin to take some pictures, but I am leaving with friends and memories to last a lifetime.

Kenney was a Photo contributor 2018-2020, assistant Photo editor 2020-2021 and Photo editor 2021-2022.

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Ashley Kenney | Photo editor
Kenney was the 2021-2022 Photo editor for the Daily Bruin. She previously served as an assistant Photo editor on the arts and entertainment beat and is an Arts contributor. Kenney studied human biology and society with a minor in food studies.
Kenney was the 2021-2022 Photo editor for the Daily Bruin. She previously served as an assistant Photo editor on the arts and entertainment beat and is an Arts contributor. Kenney studied human biology and society with a minor in food studies.
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