New York/Trump Soho


Trump Soho Hotel seen from Hudson Street (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

From the start the Trump Soho Hotel was an illegal operation, a money laundering scheme for Russian money. The Trump organization skirted zoning regulations, but the city of New York did not enforce the rules. Ivanka and Donald, Jr. lied about sales figures, but the attorney general did not prosecute. They got away with it for almost ten years.

But eventually, the Trump name became a liability — even out of town sports teams refused to stay there. The apartments did not sell. The rich and famous had other less problematic options. Now, the Trumps are cutting their losses and cutting loose the property.

From the New York Times:

Before it broke ground, protesters took to the streets, chanting “Dump the Trump” and complaining that the skyscraper would break zoning rules. Then, in 2008, a worker fell 42 stories to his death during a construction accident.

In November 2011, the Trumps and other defendants paid 90 percent of $3.16 million in deposits to settle claims from buyers of condominium units that Mr. Trump, his children and others had inflated sales figures in what turned out to be a struggling project. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., was pursuing a criminal investigation into the same issue, The New York Times reported last year. Some prosecutors felt they had enough evidence to build a case, but Mr. Vance declined to pursue charges, several news organizations reported last month.

At the same time, a separate lawsuit alleged that the project was backed by felons and financing from Russia. Felix Sater, a Russian deal maker, felon and F.B.I. informant, had helped facilitate the deal, the lawsuit said.

New York/Atlantic City


Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City — © Brian Rose

Back in Atlantic City. A cool windy November day, I found myself among the Roman columns opposite the Dutch styled Knife and Fork restaurant. In the background, the black and white striped Atlantic Club casino, now closed along with the Trump Plaza, The Trump Taj Mahal, and the Revel further up the beach.

Standing where Atlantic, Pacific and Albany Avenues converge, the Knife & Fork was originally established in 1912 by then Atlantic City Mayor William Riddle, the Commodore Louis Kuehnle, and their cronies as an exclusive men’s drinking and dining club. The second floor was graced with curtained dining alcoves and a separate “ladies lounge” where women, who were not permitted at the bar, waited to be summoned. Private rooms on the third and fourth floors were used for gambling and, perhaps, other activities.


South Wilson Avenue, Atlantic City — © Brian Rose

The Atlantic Club casino with its palatial arched windows and hotel tower hovers over a row of stucco  apartment buildings, vestiges of an earlier time.

Some people say if they buy the Atlantic Club, they might bulldoze it because they don’t feel/think it’s worth it,”  (Mayor) Guardian said. “Everyone wants to save the garage; some people want to save the tower that was built. While others said it just needs some TLC.


The Atlantic Club casino, Atlantic City — © Brian Rose

Nearby, Stockton University is building a new campus, which will bring young upwardly mobile people to the city, and the Hard Rock Cafe is taking over the Trump Taj Mahal. New market rate apartments are going up nearby. Meanwhile…

A New Jersey redevelopment agency has given preliminary approval to a $5.6 million payment to billionaire investor Carl Icahn to help pay for the demolition of part of Atlantic City’s former Trump Plaza casino.


Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

For the moment, the former Trump Plaza tower commands the skyline above Boardwalk Hall.

I agree this project needs to come down,” said the mayor, who leaves office in January. “But why are they asking us for $5.6 million? You’re already responsible for the project closing and the loss of jobs and the suffering the city has gone through.

New York/Arcaid Competition

I did not win the Arcaid architecture photograph of the year competition. The winner was just announced in Berlin — Terrence Zhang — a Chinese photographer who, somehow, managed to have three images in the final 20.


Arcaid 2017 competition winner– photo by Terrence Zhang

I was curious to see whether the attendees at the World Architecture Festival would choose something purely architectural and/or compositional, or something with social/political content. They went with the former — a beautiful, atmospheric, classically symmetrical image.

Here is my submission.


North wall of the Revel casino, Atlantic City — © Brian Rose

All 20 of the shortlisted photographs will be exhibited in London and Beijing.

New York/Berlin


Arcaid shortlisted photos, World Architecture Festival, Berlin

This picture popped up on my twitter feed just a little while ago. It’s the installation of the finalists for the Arcaid architecture photograph award at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin.

That’s my picture at the far right. Attendees of the festival vote for their favorite photograph, and the winner is announced at a gala dinner that closes the event.

New York/Berlin

Ebertstrasse, Berlin, 1989 — © Brian Rose

28 years ago today, the Berlin wall opened. It was a moment of joyous celebration, a triumph of the human spirit, and an eternal symbol of freedom against repression.

28 years later, we are in a much darker place as the shadow of authoritarianism stalks once again in the United States and abroad.

But let us not doubt, on this day, that an aroused public will not permit the walls of hatred and tyranny to stand. And those who desecrate our ideals, and seek to tear apart the bonds that unite us, will be vanquished.

“A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”  — The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

New York/Prospect Park


Abraham Lincoln, Prospect Park, New York (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

A statue of Abraham Lincoln, dedicated in 1969, stands in Prospect Park. Lincoln is depicted holding the Emancipation Proclamation, the executive order that effectively freed the slaves in 1862 at the height of the Civil War. Lincoln said at the signing:

“I never in my life felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper…if my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.”

A few days ago, John Kelly, chief of staff for President Donald Trump, made remarks that essentially denied that slavery was the central focus of the Civil War, and insulted the legacy of Lincoln. He said: “…the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

In 1860, speaking in the Great Hall of Cooper Union, Lincoln addressed, specifically, the issue of false equivalence — and the moral necessity of recognizing right from wrong.

Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored – contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man…

It is not necessary to demonize those who fought on the side of the south — my great, great grandfather died on the battlefield at Vicksburg — believing, I presume, that he fought for a just cause. But it is time to acknowledge that veneration should be reserved for those who fought against slavery, not for it. 

New York/Four Freedoms Park


Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island — © Brian Rose

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
January 6, 1941


Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island — © Brian Rose

New York/Meatpacking District

Curbed has done a video about the Meatpacking District and my photography. It’s a little slick, perhaps, but hey, I’m a slick kind of guy. We put quite a bit of work into this video — out in the street, and in the studio. Those are the actual Meatpacking negatives on the lightbox, and that is my super lightweight Toyo 4×5 camera in use.

My book, Metamorphosis, Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013 is still available — about 100 left.

New York/The Bronx

A quick trip to the Bronx. Go Yankees!


Yankee Stadium, 161st Street — © Brian Rose


Cromwell Avenue — © Brian Rose


170th Street and Jerome Avenue — © Brian Rose


170th Street station platform — © Brian Rose

New York/Frame Shop


Meatpacking District image, Laumont Photographics, Long Island City — © Brian Rose

It’s always great to see prints like these go out the door. I was there to place a signature label on the mounted print. They cut a window in the backing board to provide access to the signature.


Signature window in backing board — © Brian Rose

New York/The Guardian

The Arcaid architecture photography award gets a lot of media attention — showing the finalists — not just the winner, which will be chosen in November. Many of the websites that do features are architecturally oriented, but some general news sites take an interest as well. The Guardian did a really nice presentation the other day with comments from readers.


Someone said my photograph was only good because of the two shacks, which is true.

A lot of the discussion centered on whether these were photographs about architecture or photographs that utilize architecture for other purposes. My favorite comment was this one:

New York/Arcaid Shortlist


Atlantic City, Revel casino north wall (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

I’m pleased to announce that my photograph of the new, but empty, Revel casino in Atlantic City (above) has been shortlisted for the  Arcaid architecture photograph of the year award. Twenty photographs were selected, and will be exhibited in Berlin, London, and Beijing. The winner will be chosen at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin in November.

Here are the images.

In a contest like this you want an iconic image with a strong composition, play of light, color arrangement — all the elements. And wow factor turned up to 11. I’m not really that kind of photographer. I work in series rather than individual images, though I expect each image to have a purpose and an internal logic.

As followers of this blog know, I’ve been working on an Atlantic City series with a fairly straightforward political intent. To frame Donald Trump as the scam artist we have known about for years, and to place him at the center of the destruction of Atlantic City, a quintessentially American story of greed and (literally) casino capitalism. The image that was selected does not show a Trump casino, and in fact, the fall of Atlantic City is a complex subject, but I think it works to tell the story about as well as any one photograph can.

American values and idealism, however, survive somewhere between the crumbling houses and the monolithic glass wall of the casino — the little American flag in the vacant lot flapping in the sea breeze.

See my other Atlantic City images here.