Next month, Binghamton University students will be able to show their insecurities to the world, as part of a photography series.
For the past five years, photographer Steve Rosenfield has been taking pictures of people as part of his “What I Be” project, self-described as “building security through insecurity.” The photographs feature close-ups of people with their insecurities written with a black marker on their faces or on other parts of their bodies. For example, in one picture, a woman holds up her two fists together with “daddy issues” written on them. In another, a man raises one fist with “act more manly” written on it.
From March 15 to 20, Rosenfield will shoot Binghamton students for the project. His visit is being organized by the Binghamton University Marketing Association (BUMA).
“This has never happened on our campus before,” said Danielle Levin, BUMA’s vice president of programming. “A well-known photographer who’s photographed Macklemore, Nora Jones, Joss Stone — these huge people — is coming to our campus to photograph our students.”
Hadas Bernstein, a sophomore majoring in psychology, reached out to Rosenfield several months ago. Levin did as well, separately. Rosenfield got the two in touch with each other, and they worked together to raise funds for him to come to campus.
Rosenfield has also done the “What I Be” project at several other universities, including Princeton, Columbia and Duke. His sessions will last about 45 minutes each, and Levin said that he’ll be able to work with around 72 different students.
“There will be time for him to get to know you, and then together, you’ll formulate what you write down, what goes on your photograph,” said Levin, a senior double-majoring in art and marketing.
For the six days he’ll be in Binghamton, Rosenfield will set up his studio in UUW325. There, students who aren’t picked as one of the project’s subjects can still peer in and watch Rosenfield’s process, which he’s happy to demonstrate.
“We picked that room because it has huge open space with a bunch of windows on one wall,” Levin said. “So for the students who don’t get that chance to get that session and get that photo taken, they can always come on and be an onlooker.”
Levin and Bernstein said that a link will be sent out in early March that will allow students to register for a session with Rosenfield. They’ll be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis, they said.
On March 19, Rosenfield will speak about his project at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Hall 9. Anyone may attend, and some of his subjects will have the chance to speak about their experience.