Two students sit in the Binghamton University Marketplace, a stack of paper booklets strewn about, as rush-hour foot traffic between classes ensues around them.
One of those students is Benjamin Brandwein, a senior majoring in English. Last semester, Brandwein founded the Binghamton Photo Journal, a local, strictly-photography print publication.
Brandwein came up with the idea in December and started to take action. He began soliciting photographs from students via Facebook and email, and then sifted through about 50 submissions from student photographers and laid out a booklet that would become the first issue of the Binghamton Photo Journal. Now, he is selling this first issue every week in the Marketplace, with one copy costing $3 and two costing $5.
Brandwein curates every page, and does most of the work on his own.
Still, he has help from his friends. Brandwein says that his best friend Harrison Teich, a senior majoring in English, is his “right-hand man.” The pair laughed as Teich claimed to do all the dirty work in their relationship. From driving Brandwein around, to carrying a table to and from the University Union, Teich does the “heavy lifting” for the publication.
The first issue of the Binghamton Photography Journal consists of 14 photographs taken by nine different photographers, all with different backgrounds in photography. Brandwein stresses that to be published, photographers need an artistic perspective.
He shared that he struggled at the beginning of his photographic venture.
“I took photography here and basically failed it,” Brandwein said.
Despite this, he asserted that the medium is accessible for everyone and there’s no need for an expensive camera. Brandwein is happy to have more involvement, as long as those interested show passion.
Melissa Neira, ‘15, is a good friend of Brandwein and an avid photographer. The two of them used to work together on Neira’s photographs and now she helps with the journal.
“I think Ben wanted another outlet for students to publish their art. He’s into photography as well, and he saw a lack of campus publications for students to publish their art,” Neira said. “I think it’s an awesome idea. I wish he would’ve thought of it while I was an [undergraduate student].”
Currently, the publication is paid for completely out of pocket by Brandwein. He hopes that by spreading the word — and the publication — he will be able to get recognition by a larger organization, which will help to fund the project.
If the publication gains financial support, Brandwein hopes it will be published monthly and be free to students. As of now, the profit made from the first issue will go into funding future issues.
Brandwein will be staying at BU an extra year, but he plans to work as a freelance writer after he graduates. As for the Binghamton Photo Journal, Brandwein is currently searching for a freshman with the same amount of passion to carry out his legacy.
Check the Binghamton Photo Journal Facebook page for all relevant news, tabling dates or to submit photographs.