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Davis, California

Monday, May 20, 2024

A Farewell to The Aggie but not to photography

My eyes have snapped the best photos




Although I write countless essays as a sociology major, this column was embarrassingly hard to start. My time at The Aggie has consisted of 98% picture taking and about 2% caption writing. In other words, this is my small writing debut for The California Aggie! 

I remember back in 2019 as a freshman being told over and over that I needed to join The California Aggie because of my love for photojournalism. Well, instead I joined a sorority and got a tad busy — good busy though! Then COVID-19 hit and I felt especially lost and disassociated with my college. It was not until 2021, during my junior year, that I realized my time at Davis was not as gratifying as it could be. Although nothing could have prepared me or any of us for the terrible effect the pandemic had on undergraduate life, I realized I needed to be involved in Davis the same way I was during high school. 

At my high school, I thrived in yearbook throughout all four years. I began as a photographer, moved to photography director and then took on the role of Editor-in-Chief. My experience brought me closer to the students, faculty and campus as a whole. Davis is nevertheless an even bigger and more daunting university that I felt compelled to explore. I wanted to feel the satisfaction of taking pictures again and insert myself into corners of campus that I would never have stepped on.

The two years I spent at The California Aggie were everything and more. I met kind and brilliant peers who inspired me greatly. I got to lead a team of talented photographers whose pictures were so good I questioned my position sometimes. With all that said, The California Aggie patched the hole that I needed fixed in order to find true fulfillment in my college experience. 

I can now leave UC Davis knowing that I have left a small but gratifying mark on campus. As the photo director for The California Aggie, I realized that cameras can only capture so much. No matter how many phone and camera pictures I have, the memories and emotions will never fully be realized in the photos. In other words, I have learned to put my camera down at times, embrace the beauty away from the lens, and watch as the world unfolds around me. Life should not be lived by watching it solely through a camera lens. 

So my one word of advice is to go to that concert, fly to Hawaii and graduate from UC Davis, but only take a few special pictures or videos. Your eyes will be your best lens and capture the power of life, as well as true memories, so use them! As I enter the real world, I will carry myself high and embrace all the leadership skills and knowledge that The California Aggie and UC Davis have taught me. 


Kayla Bruckman is The California Aggie’s current photo director. She joined The Aggie in October 2021 as a photographer. The following year, she joined the managing staff as the photo director in June 2022. She is graduating with honors with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in human development.