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Summer Jobless

Welcome to the final days of summer. Did you soak up enough warmth, play enough days? Did you get enough done? Most of the contributors to this theme had time on their sides. Each responded to the situation with fight or flight, break or flex, run or sleep. Given that we’re all motivated by different things, it was interesting to see how the reactions varied by culture, location, and occupation. Some volunteered their skills from manual labor to photography. Others adapted their professions quickly in order to stay ahead of bills. But most seem to have accepted a welcome break — a chance to recalibrate and ruminate.

Intro & design Laura Brunow Miner




When my partner finished his doctorate, I realized it’s not easy out there for historians. People may think that PhD graduates have no trouble finding work, but that’s not the case. I caught him deep in thought after a run, presumably wondering which way to go next, and whether he’ll have to give up academics altogether.

Photographer: Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a writer and photographer focused on modern cultural expressions such as food, music, and healing modalities. She’s a regular contributer to Examiner, Reality Sandwich, and Evolver.

Dear @Pictory:

Sent out 30 resumes & applications, I had 4 interviews, didn’t get hired. Had random luck on craigslist though which was awesome.”



I still miss my co-workers and the wonderful security of a steady salary and health benefits. It took a lot of courage to quit a lucrative job in a bad economy, and even now I’m not where I want to be financially. But every time I wonder if I should rejoin Corporate America, I look at this picture and remind myself, “You weren’t happy there.”

Photographer: Chung Nguyen

I live in San Francisco and love to photograph people and their pets.

Keeping Cool

Keeping Cool

Remind me again why I was ever impatient to be all grown up? I remember when my biggest summer concerns were staying cool and catching the ice cream truck before it got away. Now I’m getting my dad’s house ready for market, trying to find funding for school, and working on turning my photography passion into a career. Positive mental weights, but weights nonetheless.

Photographer: Kit Grene

I’m a student who is working, living, growing in the greater Chicagoland area.

Dear @Pictory:

Graduated in May. Moved in with my boyfriend in June. Eloped to New Orleans in July. Vegas trip in August. Still jobless in Sept.”



The discussions of summer jobs and activities never seemed to lead to anything substantial.

Photographer: Aline Smithson

Photographer, editor, educator, Aline Smithson lives in Los Angeles and yes, still shoots film. She writes and edits the blog, Lenscratch.

Life’s a Picnic

Life’s a Picnic

I moved to London for a boy, and since I haven’t found work yet, I’m enjoying every rare sunny day. I take off my shoes, feel the grass on my feet and sun on my skin, and fall into dreamy naps in the park near my flat.

Photographer: Emilie Robert

I am a communication and marketing professional. I recently rediscovered art in general, illustration, painting, and photography while working for an advertising agency. I wish to have more time to learn and progress.



I’m living in a house of five guys. Many of us are coming to the end of our employment (for one reason or another) and the search for the next job is on. Sure, being unemployed and depressed sucks. But it also helps you slow down a bit.

Photographer: Steve Saldivar

Steve Saldivar is a photojournalist in Oakland, California.

Given a Break

Given a Break

When a stranger at a bar told me he was “funemployed,” I thought he was making an excuse for his laziness. Then I finished college and realized how bad the economy really was. Unable to find a “real job,” I took a staff position at my university while looking for something in my field. Two years went by and I could hardly stand it, but couldn’t justify quitting without another job lined up. Finally, our department was closed and I was laid off. I was absolutely elated. I finally understood that “funemployment” can mean a release from the wrong situation.

Photographer: Gennifer Merriday

USC grad and photography enthusiast currently living in Southern California, but hoping to move to London in order to travel the world.

Dear @Pictory:

This summer I quit my job, started writing a book, went to Nova Scotia & Seattle and this week I’ll learn how to make pizza dough.”

In Limbo

In Limbo

I spent two hours a day in class this summer. I had so much free time to play! Too much time. I couldn’t find work, and yet couldn’t leave the city or take a vacation. Stuck spinning my wheels.

Photographer: Emily Turner

Student and amateur photographer in NYC by way of Louisiana.

Sunrise Session

Sunrise Session

It’s a waiting game, you know? Surfers are good at waiting. Waiting for the sun to rise. Waiting for the tide to turn. Waiting for the perfect wave. He’s been out of work for almost a year now. They say the economy is in the dumps. Things could be worse. After all, he’s been out there for almost a year now, waiting.

Photographer: Nick Cook

Nick lives in the hills above Santa Barbara where he works on his photography projects and piano prowess. As of late Nick has been concentrating on 35mm location work and traditional photographic processes. He is frequently found surfing along the California coast.



This bridge provides shelter to many of Atlanta’s jobless, and serves as a reminder that some fall from temporary to chronic unemployment. I’m not jobless, but as a veteran of the freelance world, I am acutely aware of the uncertainties of self-employment.

Photographer: Laura Noel

I am an artist and visual arts professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dear @Pictory:

I explored the U.S. healthcare system as someone without health insurance. Turns out metal plates aren’t cheap. Cool scar, though.”

Change of Plans

Change of Plans

This gentleman, at a farmer’s market near L’isle sur le sorgue in France, had worked 35 years for the same company. Working, being productive, “that is the measure of a man,” he said. When the news came that his job was gone, it caused him to stumble a bit. His wife reminded him of his weekend passion for gardening. Now each evening in the spring and summer he sells the produce he grows in his garden. It is not what he’d planned, but a true man faces life’s challenges head on.

Photographer: Leighton Gleicher

My name is Leighton Gleicher and I live in New York City. I retired from a corporate job several years ago and began taking photographs as a way of reconnecting with and really seeing the world.

Street Vendor

Street Vendor

India’s unemployment isn’t based solely on economic downturn, but also the recent population explosion. The United States is thirteen times the geographic size of India with a third of the population. This image reflects how many people in India get by: A tobacco shop starts selling knockoff football jerseys during the World Cup to make a little more money. That’s how we roll.

Photographer: Nirav Bakshi

I am Nirav Bakshi and I live in Bombay, the sixth largest city in the world. I’m a student, I love photography, and I live by the words, “One day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure it’s worth watching.”

Dear @Pictory:

I put off the arduous job search & instead tested my dog‘s patience (obedience?) on a drive across the US.”



When I was let go from my full-time advertising gig in Manhattan, I decided to take a much needed break from the city. I flew down to Arkansas to help some friends with a non-profit design initiative in the Delta called Thrive. I found great satisfaction ripping apart the old pre-war interior of their new office and cleaning up the space.

Photographer: Garrett Peek

I’m a creative professional living and (seeking work) in NYC/Brooklyn. I am an art director / designer / illustrator / photographer.

A Chance to Roam

A Chance to Roam

You may not have heard of the California town of Weed, near the border with Oregon, but I feel like quaint small towns like this one are the backbone of our country. As an unemployed artist, I jumped at a chance to document a friend’s band there this summer while they recorded an album.

Photographer: Mikey Baratta

I am an unemployed, traveling artist who is on a mission to explore, discover, and share.



I squirreled away enough freelancing income for a summer sublet in San Francisco, giving myself a three month runway to line up a full-time job. A personal ultimatum of sorts. In the meantime, outings favored the thrifty and weird over the comfortable and traditional. One Saturday night in July, my friends and I found ourselves laughing and shivering on Pier 7 past midnight with a crab net, a tiny barbecue, and several bottles of cheap wine.

At the end of August, I accepted a salaried position downtown, and now I’m just another boring jerk grabbing a pint after work in the same overpriced bar as everyone else.

Photographer: Andrew Collins

Andrew Collins is a travel-hungry data addict who designs interactive things and sometimes static things. He toots and cusses @inrgbwetrust.

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