Alabama- day 45

top= me with Valley, my amazingly wonderful roomie, Arts Guild leader, best buddy, and more, before the Crewe of Columbus Mardi Gras ball
bottom= me with Neil, my other Mobile best buddy and simply awesome dude, after the ball



Here's a very small sampling of my newest project, which I started for the new year 2007, called "STOMP" (aka. "Shoes That Overrun My Photography"). Definitely a work in progress that accompanies "Project ME" and will hopefully also jump off on its own. 30 days of Alabama STOMP are on display in my "Unbound" exhibit.

Alabama- day 44


Alabama- day 41 and TBT

I started a new journal today:

the old journal, started Dec. 3, 2006, while at my third day with the Buffalo Field Campaign in Montana, still a newly liberated prisoner of hospitals and So-Cal:

later on in the evening, I lost the new journal, and a lot else.

--- the Tree-Bike-Theft (TBT) ---

(from a mass-email I sent out on V-day. cuz I can't write right now. or draw. or anything. I just hurt.)

dear friends,

happy valentine's day. you are wonderful. keep rocking out, doing whatever you're doing, and live for the moment.

cuz you never know when it might be over.

my bike, dear companion since the 11th grade, was stolen monday night 10:20 PM. i was climbing trees while biking back home from work, my bike parked below me, all my stuff in the basket, me about 20-30 feet off the ground. this dude walks by, eyeing my bike. walks away. comes back after a few minutes. i think nothing of it... then notice him moving my bike. i run down the tree limbs, "yo, that's my bike!" he looks at me, pops the kick stand, and takes off, "now it's stolen." i run down to a notch, still quite far from the ground, jump, and take off sprinting, yanking my cellphone out of my pocket and dialing "911."

i wish i screamed. i wish i wasn't so stupid to begin with. i wish...

a lot. too much.
and too late.

besides my bike (went across the country and too many other places with me) and wallet (with credit cards, driver's license, social security...), i also lost a lot of sentimental stuff, ie my journal (new journal, at least, but with a lot of thoughts in there already), camera bag (that used to belong to my mom and has been with me evvverywhere), bandanna (that accompanied me thru both high school and college, the Fall, and too many other adventures), all of my memory cards (with most recent photos from the night's revelry: riding in a Mardi Gras float)... and a little bit of naiveness, trust in humanity, and happiness in general. i know the last one will return, though.

live strong, be happy, live now.


(photo from Jan. 25, 2007, my bike-around-Bay day)


Alabama- day 38

"Unbound," a photo-installation by Joyce Lin, at the Mobile Arts Council gallery

artist statement:
“So, what do you think of Alabama so far?” people often ask, rendering me at a loss for words. I’m originally from Los Angeles. I moved here at the beginning of 2007 for an internship, and will leave at the end of March. I don’t know what to say; my thoughts and feelings on Alabama and my current situation are far too complex for words, and perhaps even images. But this installation seeks to do just that. I pick out a photo from each day that I’ve been here in Mobile, though the photos are definitely not restricted to Mobile, as I’ve moved from West Mobile to Daphne to the Oakleigh district, and have biked across the city and surrounded areas. The photos seek to tell the story of each day I’m here. They come together to form a visual diary of my “Alabama experience.”


Alabama- day 37

Dear purple cabbage, thou hast been with me since I left Los Angeles, 52 days ago, for Alabama. Thanks for sustaining me through all the ups and downs of this crazy gorgeous rollercoaster we call Life. I eat you now.


Alabama- day 36

Big Lagoon State Park, FL

Unbound- 6 months later

August 7, 2006- leaving the Sierras by helicopter, a mangled mess

February 7, 2007- overlooking Mobile Bay during my day off

I dreamed, a few nights ago, that I slid off the road while driving, crashing into a deep ditch. Much like the Fall, the accident itself happened too quickly for me to remember anything, but my body was in great pain--- all too familiar pain, like after the Fall. Aghast, I stare at my bloodied hands and feel my ripped up face, my mind screaming, “No! Not after taking so long to recover. Not after I am finally free. Not again…”

I’m sitting on a dock overlooking the bay in Mobile, AL, my body bathed in sunlight. It’s the first warm day since I’ve gotten here, a month ago. The winter has been unusually chilly. Although I just drove here from below-freezing Montana, I’m still cold and pile on clothes everyday, fingers and toes numb as I bike to work.

Work. How to make money and survive in the rat-race capitalist society that most Americans conform to and consider “civilized.” A question I mulled over, digested, then shat out before graduating from UCLA in June 2006. Work. I won’t follow the standard grid. I still want to do photography, maybe photojournalism… but I’ll let it take a rest.

I quit my photo-editing job at my college paper and really started to live, suddenly having free time. I got active in, among other things, the biking community, campus sustainability, and rock-climbing. I then graduated, a few months later, ecstatic to be “free” and with only a fuzzy idea of “what next.”

I photograph in Hawaii for a news convention, learn wilderness survival in the southern Utah desert, explore the rest of Utah, photograph for another convention in San Francisco, almost die falling off a mountain in the Sierras (the Fall), recover in Los Angeles, volunteer on southern California farms, hike a lot, patrol with the Buffalo Field Campaign in Montana, drive from Los Angeles to Alabama, and am now here in Mobile on my second formal photo-internship, wondering why I’m in Alabama, and why I’m still here on Earth.

After the Fall, I reevaluated my goals, passions, and talents, trying to find my life’s purpose. Photography. I want to make a splash with my photography. What am I doing, teaching thankless children survival skills, romping around in the Utah desert, happy but useless to the world? If I really want to make a difference with my photography, then I should go forth and do so. Or at least get started.

I apply for as many photo internships as I can find. The Mobile Press-Register is first to call, “We’d love for you to join our team…” I start crying over the phone, masking my emotional happiness with, as calmly as I can, “I accept the internship.” The dream is thus rekindled. I’m back on the path. I can’t believe it.

So far, Alabama has been a violent rollercoaster ride, to say in the least. From almost eight months of free-roaming post-graduation unemployed wildness to, once more, cubicles, schedules, cars, and money, I can only totter about in a half-depressed stun. I can’t believe I’m doing this to myself, subjecting myself to “the system,” in all of its jail-like blackness, once again.

But, as every good photographer knows, there’s light in every darkness. The trick is to see the light, focus on it, and then, with a slow shutter speed, voila! Admire the big picture, instead of some nastier details, and really take the time to marvel at its beauty. Biking is probably the best part of each day; I feel so free. Oftentimes, making photos for work, lovely though that sounds, becomes tedious “work.” Outside of the newsroom, I’m involved in my new community, and am finding my niche amongst the artists, cyclists, and college students of the area. I love exploring, randomly finding new awesome people and places. I’m slowly falling in love with this place, and growing accustomed to my daily pattern: morning exercises, relocation to the newsroom to grab my assignment(s), get out and make photos, return to edit, then bust back out in the evening for a plethora of night-activities: biking, hanging out with buddies, piano, painting, tree-climbing, and general revelry that keeps me sane.

After my internship with the Press-Register ends, I plan to bike back to Los Angeles, rock out in the Black Rock Desert with other Burning Man hippies, then either lead people up Guatemala volcanoes as an adventure guide, return to Utah to do both freelance photography and wilderness therapy, sail around the world with some randomly met but awesome dudes who also want to change the world, or just continue on my bike journey and play it by ear, making life up as I go along.

I fall asleep to the sound of my own breathing, as the night envelops me in its darkness, starlight knocking on my windows, my thoughts a riotous thunder in my mind, my heart straining against my chest. I am only one. I know I am not alone. But, who is this “I”?

(I originally wrote this for the Digital Journalist, although it's becoming a tradition to write something that attempts profundity as each month passes after the Fall. This article should come out in the Digi-J in March)