Invasion of Privacy: Photographer Ben Jay brings picture-perfect zeal to campus

There is more behind Ben Jay, the sophomore assistant photo editor for The Lamron, than the numerous T-shirts, flowing locks and a penchant for carrying around his camera.

Jay, from Larchmont, N.Y., lives in Allegany Hall but can be seen all around Geneseo. He is an international relations major and just declared an Asian studies minor last week. Jay said his favorite memory of Geneseo is the day he dropped his original major: computer science. After taking the introduction course, he realized he didn't have the head for it.

Asian studies are nothing new for Jay, who has been studying Chinese since seventh grade. He picked it up after having to do a language rotation in the sixth grade, sampling Chinese, French and Spanish.

Furthering his interest, Jay spent two weeks in China in 2006. He described his knowledge of the language as "decent" and said it helped him navigate China relatively well. Currently in Chinese 201, Jay is the first to admit that he is not fluent. He said that he can, however, write the language better than he can speak it.

Jay's time in China was spent taking numerous pictures - and buying lots of bootleg DVDs. It was a combination of this experience and shooting several high school battles of the bands that got him interested in photography.

During his free time, Jay said he enjoys taking photos around the town. He photographs the Open Mic on Wednesday nights at Muddy Waters, and sometimes gets the opportunity to shoot bands at the Statesmen. He said that he prefers musical photography to other types and that he is possibly considering a career in it.

Besides contributing to The Lamron, Jay is the webmaster for Geneseo's MiNT Magazine. Dabbling in yet another form of media, Jay is also a disc jockey for the campus radio station, WGSU: The Revolution. He is on the music staff, and helps to pick songs to be put on rotation. His own personal library of music contains around 17,000 songs, ranging from R.E.M. to his favorite, Jethro Tull.

In accordance with his music obsession, Jay has decided to start collecting vinyl records. While some records have come from cleaning out his parents' basement, others have been picked up from trips to places like Montreal and Chicago, bought from eBay, or acquired from Buzzo's on Main Street. Although it's not a serious hobby, Jay has collected 40 records in the past two to three years. He said he listens to them on his roommate's record player - when their room is clean enough to find it.

Jay spent his high school career helping out with his friends' musical endeavors, tagging along with both garage bands and more experienced musicians. He was not involved in athletics. "I made a point of never doing high school sports," Jay said.

Jay said he wrote for his high school's "really bad" music magazine and acted in two of its Shakespeare performances. While he only played a small role in one, he acted as Dr. Caius in "The Merry Wives of Windsor."

Some may recognize Jay around campus from his long hair, which he keeps soft with TRESemmé hair products. He has been wearing his hair at varying lengths since sixth grade, but said this is the longest it has ever been. He rarely ties it back, except when he is working at Trader Joe's, a specialty grocery store, over breaks from Geneseo.

With two-and-a-half years at Geneseo left in front of him, Jay spends time doing the things he enjoys most, not worrying about the future. Mixing his world experiences with the ones Geneseo is giving him, he said that he is waiting to embrace "whatever happens."