How BINJ turned a photo essay into a major event and more


Have somebody snap the kind of photos of Boston's decrepit public transportation system that, if you saw them, would make you never want to ride the trains again.


To illustrate this pressing issue in a new light, we asked ace Boston photographer Derek Kouyoumjian to spend a month over the winter taking photographs of utterly dilapidated MBTA tracks, stations, and trains. The resulting feature ran in print through our partners at DigBoston, and online at and on the BINJ Medium page.


In order to bring Derek's photo essay beyond the page, we asked the INVESTNOW coalition of T labor and advocacy groups to sponsor an art show and forum. Check out the proposal that secured the partnership.


To bring Kouyoumjian’s work past the page, BINJ and project sponsor INVESTNOW hosted an event at Workbar in Cambridge on a Wednesday after work. Members of the public had a chance to see projected images and prints up close, and to commiserate with fellow T riders about the utterly dilapidated state of Massachusetts tracks, stations, and trains. The event featured a short interview with Kouyoumjian, followed by a panel discussion with transit experts and activists. Complimentary food and beer were served.


What transpired during the Workbar panel was a rare conversation that cut to the heart of these regional issues. Hardly a venue for the opinions of transit officials and privatization proponents, whose opinions are already heard in the creaks and screams of trains that should have been removed from service years ago, the event was a platform for perspectives that are typically shut out of the mainstream—particularly those of T workers, T activists, and advocates. Check out our event recap here.