Author Archives: admin

New York/New York

American Grotesque

The innocent victim, wounds hidden beneath pillow, the wholesome family, white coated doctor, white roses, heart balloons, the gleaming modern hospital, president and first lady posed slightly to foreground. Smiles all around. Another day, another school shooting. 🙂

New York/London


Prufrock Coffee, Leather Street, London — © Brian Rose

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

We stumbled upon Prufrock Coffee in Leather Street in Clerkenwell, a formerly industrial area, now full of architecture and design firms — and the gallery where my photograph is hanging. Not only was the coffee good at Prufrock, so was the food. I had an avocado toast served on a rugged slice of brown bread doused in olive oil and sprinkled with chili pepper flakes. Renee had an amazing “sandwich” featuring peas and a perfectly soft boiled egg on top.

We’re headed back to New York today.

New York/London


Sto Werkstatt, London

At the opening of the exhibition Building Images at Sto Werkstatt in London, which features the 20 shortlisted photographs for the Architectural Photography Awards. My wife, Renee Schoonbeek on the right.


Sto Werkstatt, London

My photograph of Atlantic City.

New York/London

My photograph (above) from my Atlantic City project was shortlisted for Architecture Photograph of the Year 2017 and will be exhibited In London — opening this Thursday. I will be present at the opening Thursday evening, and will be in London through Sunday, if anyone is interested in a meet up. I haven’t been to London in quite a while — should be fun.

New York/Atlantic City


Book Cover Proposal

I’ve been working on a book dummy of my Atlantic City photographs. This a closeup of the former Trump Plaza casino hotel, and the crest once had a Trump logo in the center oval. Imagine the lettering ATLANTIC CITY stamped in gold foil.

Here’s what the interior pages look like:

The book includes approximately 50 photographs with text on the left and images on the right. The text pieces are a combination of personal observations, quotes from various newspapers and online media, and screenshots of Donald Trump’s tweets about Atlantic City. Fifteen tweets to be exact.

They’re great. What can I say.

Yes, sad for all the haters and losers. And for the United States of America now that Donald Trump has dumped Atlantic City and taken his carney show on the road..

This is a book that needs to get published — I just don’t know if anyone will take it on. I certainly don’t have Trump’s savvy for flim-flammery. But I do have a book that is urgent, poignant, and, in my opinion, important.

New York/Beginnings


Richmond, Virginia (35mm Kodachrome) 1971

I’ve been think a lot lately about the early days of color photography, and I’ve done a number of posts on the subject in the past. I am making a proposal to do an exhibition at Cooper Union about the school’s role in the emergence of color photography in the 1970s. I don’t know if the idea will get traction or not — it will take a lot of work to put together.

The picture above was taken when I was 16 or 17 — around 1971. I had just gotten a camera and was shooting black and white primarily. One day I ran a roll of Kodachrome through the camera and ended up with several pictures that resonated deeply with me. All I could do at first was look at the slides through a little viewer — I didn’t even have a projector. So, I got a few drug store prints made, and the seed was planted. I go back to this image from time to time as a reminder of what got things started.

Here’s what I looked like back then.


Brian Rose self portrait (35mm Kodachrome) — 1972

New York/Atlantic City


Caesar’s garage, Atlantic City (4×5 negative) — © Brian Rose

Difference in scale — almost a photographic genre in itself — is stupefyingly on display in Atlantic City. And every city planning truism about livable streets has been blown to smithereens. Learning from Las Vegas, AC gets a PhD in architecture.

I am torn between celebrating the wanton caziness of it all and seeking the smug moral high ground on this low lying spit of sand. Atlantic City seems to be imploding at the same time as it is once again being resurrected. The story goes on — the gamblers play on in windowless rooms — while the waves crash closer and closer to the boardwalk.

New York/Atlantic City


Harrah’s casino, Atlantic City, (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

Atlantic City was built on a barrier island (Absecon Island), and for most of its history, was oriented to the boardwalk along the Atlantic Ocean — a grid of streets with names anyone who has played Monopoly knows well. The backside of the island was mostly low lying wetlands.

The first casinos were built along the boardwalk, though few gamblers were interested in getting their feet wet in the surf, or navigating the crime-ridden streets of the city. And these being self-contained realms, access to highways was more important, and several casinos were built in the Marina district along Absecon Inlet at a safe remove from the city proper.

At one time, Donald Trump owned four casinos including the Trump Marina, which was sold at a fire sale price a few years ago. It’s now the Golden Nugget — the parking structure to the left in the photo above.

From NJ.com:

Swatches of colorful new carpeting were laid down in hotel hallways to show what will eventually replace the more drab patterns consisting of tens of thousands of interlocking letter “T”s, beneath the “Trump” name on each room door.

“We have been working on removing everything that says ‘Trump,’ but it’s overwhelming,” said Amy Chasey, a Golden Nugget spokeswoman.

New York/Atlantic City


Miss America with crown, Atlantic City — © Brian Rose

The Miss America pageant was a big deal in the 1960s when I was growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia. Every year the family gathered around the TV set as we assiduously scrutinized the contestants, 18 or 19 year old women dolled up to be ageless icons of poise and beauty. Talented, too. Among other things, able to effortlessly traverse the stage in sky high heels.

The pageant has experienced many controversies, and gone through a lot of changes over the years. Certainly, its centrality in American culture has faded. It left Atlantic City for Las Vegas, and then returned again to this struggling remnant of a seaside resort. A relic, perhaps, of those simpler times that never were.

Now, we are witnessing yet another Miss America spectacle — it turns out the leaders of the organization are a bunch of sexist louts. Quelle surprise! A bevy of former beauty queens has called for resignations.The CEO was just suspended.

Jennifer Weiner writes in the New York Times: “It might not be enough. Nothing might be able to remove the stain of so much hateful, crude, sexist talk. It might be that we’ve seen our last weeping, rhinestone-crowned Miss A. making her way down the Atlantic City walkway.”

Meanwhile, our crude lecher-in-chief, whose sham embrace of Atlantic City left it defiled and desolated, remains standing. “Make America great again.”

 

New York/Lower East Side


The Bowery and East 1st Street, 2010 (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

Republicans in Congress rushed the bill through for other reasons: to combat the fact of their own legislative incompetence, to satisfy their donors and to honor their long-held belief that the rich are America’s true governing force.

The middle class and the poor were never at the heart of this heartless bill. They are simply a veneer behind which a crime is occurring: the great American tax heist.

Charles Blow, The New York Times

New York/Washington, D.C.


The Lincoln Memorial (4×5 film) 1982 — © Brian Rose

There have been more perilous moments in American history — the Civil War, certainly — but few. The coming days will shake the pillars of this great democratic experiment. Be strong. Be prepared for anything.

New York/Washington, D.C.


The National Mall, Washington, D.C. (4×5 film) 1982 — © Brian Rose

Another of several views of the Mall in Washington taken in the early ’80s. Hard to imagine such emptiness on the Mall today, even on a rainy day.

New York/Washington, D.C.


Grant Memorial, Washington, D.C. (4×5 film) 1982 — © Brian Rose

From a small group of photographs I made in Washington, D.C. in the early 1980s. The Grant Memorial, by sculptor Henry Shrady, stands directly in front of the Capitol, an equestrian statue with dramatic depictions of battle on either side. In my photograph, the cavalry charge is shown silhouetted against the early evening sky.

Trump himself told us plainly on Friday night in Pensacola, Fla., that he will do whatever it takes to hold power, and he should be taken seriously. “There are powerful forces in Washington trying to sabotage our movement,” he declared. “These are bad people, these are very, very bad and evil people. . . . But you know what, we’re stopping them. You’re seeing that right now.”

We are far closer to the edge than we want to think.

E.J. Dionne, The Washington Post

New York/Atlantic City


N. Congress Avenue, Atlantic City — © Brian Rose

Now, I been lookin for a job, but it’s hard to find
Down here it’s just winners and losers and don’t
Get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well, I’m tired of comin out on the losin end
So, honey, last night I met this guy and I’m gonna
Do a little favor for him

— Bruce Springsteen

New York/Atlantic City


Atlantic City — © Brian Rose


Atlantic City — © Brian Rose


Atlantic City — © Brian Rose

A few more digital images — I’m also shooting both 4×5 film of most everything — but they take some time to process and scan. The picture directly above was made with my pocket digital camera with a small lens that can be poked through the openings in chain link fences. That was the case here.

All the 4×5 images for this project are being made with a lightweight camera called a Travelwide, which has no movements and no ground glass. You set the focus manually based on distance, and you can even handhold it, though I usually stick it on a tripod. Last Thursday in Atlantic City was reasonably temperate, but it was very windy. So, the tripod was a must.

The great thing is that I can carry everything in a small camera bag — I usually have the camera and tripod balanced on my shoulder as I walk around — and most of it is made out of plastic or carbon fiber materials, including the tripod. I’m using an old Schneider 90mm lens bought bought for under $200. The camera and lens together cost less than $400, but it works to perfection. The tripod, however, is another story. And the film…