Category Archives: Books

New York/Metamorphosis Exhibition

I am pleased to announce the opening of my second exhibition at Dillon Gallery in New York. The show will include a dozen 4×5 foot prints from Metamorphosis, my book about the Meatpacking District. I am hoping that books will be available at the opening, but I am still waiting for the shipment. At the very least, there will be a few copies of the book in the gallery.

Look forward to seeing you there.


Dillon Gallery
555 West 25th Street
New York, New York

July 15 – August 15

Exhibition Opening and Book Launch
Tuesday, July 15, 6-8PM




New York/Slide Talk

Sponsored by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. A slide talk and presentation of my book (shipment arriving any day now). I will, at the very least, have a copy or two at the event. Be sure to reserve seats. These GVSHP programs fill up quickly.

GVSHP website

Photos of Gansevoort Market / Meatpacking District by Brian Rose

Wednesday, July 9
6:30 – 8:00 P.M.
Free; reservations required
Washington Square Institute
41 East 11th Street, near University Place


In the winter of 1985 Brian Rose spent several days wandering the streets of the Meatpacking District with his 4×5 view camera. It was different city then; edgier and less peopled. While the Meatpacking District bustled in the early morning hours as the city’s primary meat market, it slumbered, almost abandoned, during the day. He never printed those photographs of the Meatpacking District, and went on to other projects. But last year he retrieved the box of negatives from his archive and began scanning. He was stunned to rediscover these images, made with little artifice, unforced in their clarity. It was like looking at New York as a stage set while the actors were away taking a break.

In the summer and fall of last year he re-photographed the Meatpacking District, repeating many of the earlier images and making a number of new ones. The result is this new book, Metamorphosis, that shows the profound transformation of the neighborhood. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

To register, please call (212) 475-9585 or email.
GVSHP website



New York/ICP Class

Above is a preview of the book done by with my ICP class, Photographing New York, the Lower East Side. Each student selected some aspect of the neighborhood to photograph, and we then put the work together as a book using Blurb, the online print on demand service.

It’s a pretty cool book, done in just eight weeks time. And it’s a wonderful teaching process — although a bit stressful — in that it demands working in a focused purposeful way on a tight schedule. This is the third time I’ve taught this class, the third book, and each one is different. Each class has it own dynamic, and its own collection of personalities. Some of the photographers are relatively experienced and have a good grasp of things creatively and technically. Others are still struggling to find their way.

The challenge is to get everyone working individually and collaboratively with the goal of creating something potentially lasting — a document of place and time — and a tangible object that is publicly available. Working together like this elevates the discussion, asks each student to consider larger issues,  and locates their work in the context of the important photographers who have made the Lower East Side their subject.

I’ll be offering the class again in the fall.

New York/The Book!

metamorphosis_coverFinished book cover — © Brian Rose

Have just received two copies of the completed book sent by FedEx from the printer in Hong Kong. The rest of the books are en route by ship, on schedule for an early July delivery. All I can say is that the book looks stunning. If you’d like to pre-order go here.

On Friday I was in the lab printing for my upcoming exhibition.

metamorphosis_printSteve, the technician at Beth Schiffer Creative Darkroom, rolling prints as they come off the machine.
© Brian Rose

The book launch and exhibition opening will be July 15th at Dillon Gallery on W25th Street in Chelsea, just a few blocks north of the Meatpacking District. There will be 12 images in the show, each printed at 4×5 feet. An invitation will be sent out later.

This is all pretty exciting!


New York/Final Proofs

f+gMetamorphosis F&Gs — © Brian Rose

This is the last step. Up till now I’ve been looking at digital proofs, which give a rough idea of color and density. Yesterday, we received the F&Gs, folded and gathered signatures off the actual press. They look spectacular!

The books are now on the press being printed, and I expect to get several copies FedExed to me from Hong Kong in the next week or so. The rest of the books will come the slow way by ship and will arrive at the beginning of July.

It’s been a remarkable experience doing this book. Rediscovering the negatives made in 1985. Scanning them. Showing the images around. Rephotographing the neighborhood. Sequencing the photos and designing the book. And then, getting it printed. All in less than a year and a half. Whew!



New York/Meatpacking District


An article in Société Perrier about my upcoming book Metamorphosis: Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013. Written by Jim Allen who is branching out a bit from his usual music beat. 

I approved the final proof of the cover last Tuesday, and expect to have books in a few weeks. Unfortunately, it will be a small shipment sent by air. The rest of the books will travel by boat from Hong Kong, and will take a number of weeks. So, we’re still looking at July for the release of the book.



New York/Metamorphosis

metamorphosis_dummyMetamorphosis: Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013 book dummy

We’re getting closer and closer to a finished book. What you see above is actually a dummy with a printed cover and blank pages inside. There are issues we are working out concerning the lamination of the cover and the color saturation of the image, but in general, it looks great. We will get one more mock-up to look at, and then go to the final printing.

I’ll be updating again at the next stage. Still on schedule for July!



New York/Kickstarter Success


The Kickstarter campaign for my Meatpacking book is now over with 163% of my goal reached. Now we can take that posh vacation in the Caribbean that we’ve been dreaming about all through this — barely over — snowy winter in New York.

No, no, no. Just a joke. The money raised only pays for part of the production of the book. We’re still stuck here in this, so far, shivery spring, as baseball season begins, with lots of work to do to make this book a success.

The good news is that over 250 books have been sold out of a first printing of 1,000. And the book hasn’t yet shipped from Hong Kong. That’s a spectacular start. My 210 Kickstarter backers came from all over the world — in fact, 25% of them were from outside of the United States. It proves what I’ve been saying all along, that books like this about New York City have a potential reach far beyond the sometimes parochial view of things here in this little burg.

There are a lot of people to thank for helping make this Kickstarter campaign successful, particularly Jeremiah Moss, who wrote the foreword to the book, and got things rolling with a terrific post on his blog Vanishing New York. A number of other blogs picked up on the story including Bowery Boogie, Curbed, Untapped New York, Reciprocity-Failure, and the Swiss news/entertainment site Watson.

I’ll be providing details later, but mark your calendars. Exhibition opening and book launch, July 15th, Dillon Gallery, West 25th Street in Chelsea, just a few blocks north of the Meatpacking District.



New York/Goal Reached — Again

metamorphosis_backcoverMetamorphosis: Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013, back cover image — © Brian Rose 1985

Reached my Kickstarter goal — again. Yesterday, I announced that I had succeeded in my fundraising goal, and began receiving congratulations. But within a few minutes, a $500 backer cancelled his pledge, which I didn’t even know you could do. My moment of triumph was coldly snatched away. Do you think people do things like this on purpose? Anyway, I was not too worried that I’d make up the lost ground soon.

So, a little muted cheer for the second time around. The balloons have already been released, the champagne uncorked and flat, and the band disbanded — except for the tuba player. Blurp Blurp.

Thanks once more to all my supporters. Keep the momentum going. There are still 13 days to go.


New York/Book Proofs

cover_proof_smallCover mockup of Metamorphosis: Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013

At 65% of my Kickstarter goal with almost three weeks to go!

Metamorphosis is no longer an abstraction. Yesterday, I saw the first proofs of the cover and the inside pages. They look terrific. The book in the photo above is actually a proof print of the cover wrapped around a  blank dummy of the book. The blank let’s us see and feel the weight of the cover boards, paper, and the overall heft of the book. We placed it next to a copy of Time and Space on the Lower East Side for comparison. The red pages are the endpapers that line the inside of the front and back covers.

It’s exciting seeing the book turn into a reality. But your support is needed now as the financial reality of taking on this project looms. Pre-order via Kickstarter and get your copy of Metamorphosis at a discounted price. It’s going to be a really cool book.






New York/Williamsburg

vespucciMetropolitan and Graham Avenues, Williamsburg, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

A random view of a Williamsburg street corner with pigeon.

I am now at 50% of my goal 9 days into the Kickstarter campaign to help fund the printing of Metamorphosis: Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013. Pledge $50 and pre-order a copy of the book to be released in July. Other reward levels available. The campaign runs through April 1.

Your support is greatly appreciated.


New York/Kickstarter Campaign

metamorphosis-cover_700pxFinal Cover Design for Metamorphosis: Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013

Please help make this book a reality.

In the winter of 1985 I spent several days wandering the streets of the Meatpacking District with my 4×5 view camera. It was different city then. Edgier, less peopled. While the Meatpacking District bustled in the early morning hours as the city’s primary meatmarket, it slumbered, almost abandoned, during the day.

I never printed my photographs of the Meatpacking District, and went on to other projects. But last year I retrieved the box of negatives from my archive and began scanning. I was stunned to rediscover these images, made with little artifice, unforced in their clarity. It was like looking at New York as a stage set while the actors were away taking a break.

In the summer and fall of last year I re-photographed the Meatpacking District repeating many of the earlier images and making a number of new ones. The result is a book that shows the profound transformation of the neighborhood from abottoir to the epicenter of fashion and art.



New York/Bookstores Still Essential

Time and Space in the Tenement Museum shop window — © Brian Rose

Prior to my recent book — Time and Space on the Lower East Side — I worked with established publishers in the Netherlands and here in New York. The results were mixed, both in terms of quality and distribution. I can’t complain too much in that I did not have to bring money to the table for any of them. But I never made a dime on those books either. The Lost Border, the Landscape of the Iron Curtain was available in a few bookstores, but most of the sales were on Amazon. It’s still available on Amazon, but I have acquired a number of copies and plan to offer signed books on my website sometime soon.

By the time I got around to doing Time and Space, the publishing landscape had changed, and I knew that I would probably have to pay for the book myself — either that, or send out dummies and wait months and months for someone to respond, if ever. So, I decided to take control, put up the money (partially raised on Kickstarter), and distribute the book myself. I ended up working with Bill Diodato, a photographer with a publishing sideline called Golden Section Publishers.

I realized from the start, that the economics of my book — in an edition of 1,000 — would not make it possible to sell via Amazon, which demands a much larger cut of the retail price than any brick and mortar store. I would lose money on every sale. So, I began seriously cultivating relationships with independent book stores. It helped that I could tell them that Amazon would not be undercutting them, and it helped that I had a book with a local New York theme. Nevertheless, I expected my online sales to equal or approach store sales.

I’ve done pretty well online, but the reality is that 75% of my sales have been through bookstores. It depends, of course, on the kind of book you have. There are photo books that sell primarily to collectors, and you’d rarely find them in local shops. Dashwood Books on Bond Street in Noho caters particularly to the collecting crowd. As far as I know, it’s the only shop in New York that exclusively sells photo books. The other stores sell to the general public, albeit a rather sophisticated NYC public. They curate their offering carefully, and simply do not have the space to carry everything.

Time and Space and my upcoming book Metamorphosis, Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013 were designed to stand out on display tables, which is where you have to be in stores. Once your book is on the shelf with only the spine showing, you’re dead. My assistant and I have spent days visiting the stores that carried Time and Space making sure that the book was prominently displayed. Ultimately, you want a stack of books — it’s psychologically more enticing — and you have to make sure the stores reorder before they run out. Otherwise, weeks can go by before they get  around to calling for more. No matter how good your distribution, nothing replaces these in person visits.

We all know that bookstores are under severe pressure with ebooks replacing hard copy, and undermining prices. Moreover, independent stores are not always as savvy as they could be. But unless you are famous, or have a big promotional budget, the primary way to reach the public is still through these stores. You know who they are in Manhattan: The Strand, St. Mark’s, McNally Jackson, Rizzoli, and the various museum shops. And ironically, Time and Space has done really well at John Varvatos, the clothing shop that occupies the former CBGB on the Bowery. Photo books can be fashion accessories.

Despite the digitization of photography — or perhaps because of it — we are in a golden age of photography books. There are now numerous websites, blogs, and Facebook groups that review or sell photo books, and all of that virtual infrastructure helps build community and encourage sales. But without local bookstores, where one can browse, discover, pick up and feel, fewer photo books will reach the public. Simple as that.



New York/Meatpacking District

metamorphosis-cover_700pxMetamorphosis, Meatpacking District 1985+2013 — © Brian Rose

As I wrote earlier, my book about the Meatpacking District is well underway. Above is the cover featuring a photograph of Washington Street from 1985. It is, in many ways, a companion to Time and Space on the Lower East Side. Metamorphosis will be the same size with similar binding and layout, though we have pushed the graphic design a little bit more on this one.

Time and Space was a complex look at a large neighborhood with many interwoven visual and thematic threads. Metamorphosis is a tighter concept — 18 before/after views and 14 new images of this relatively compact neighborhood, all made with a 4×5 view camera. As before, I shot color film, and have scanned and color corrected the images in Photoshop.

The whole project (aside from the pictures made in 1985) was done in a very short time frame — less than six months — giving the book an immediacy that I think is rare. There is no way something like this could be done with most established publishers, who normally need long lead times and require much collaborative deliberation. Publishers often promote this aspect of book making, and I think overvalue their role in what often should be an artist/photographer’s unmediated statement. It depends, of course, on the circumstances, and many fine photo books have been made with only modest input from the photographer.

That’s not to say that this book was done without collaboration. I worked with Bill Diodato, photographer and publisher, and a small team of technical/design mavens. It has been a fruitful partnership.

As with Time and Space on the Lower East Side I will need to do a Kickstarter campaign to help cover the cost of printing. The economics of doing photo books like this are difficult. The barriers to success, from production to distribution, are high. But this will be my fifth book, and I have a good deal of experience at this point, and know how to make it all work.

Stay tuned for the next step.





New York/Time and Space


Time and Space on the Lower East Side

As many of you know, Cooper Union, the esteemed tuition-free art/architecture/engineering college is in the midst of an existential crisis. The Board of Trustees has proposed charging tuition to solve the school’s financial problems. Alumni, students, and other friends of Cooper are fighting the change.

I have 100 copies of my book Time and Space on the Lower East Side left in the first (and only) edition. I am donating 50% of the sales to the Cooper Union annual fund between now and the end of the year. Just type in “Cooper” in the discount box, get the book for $60, and help this important institution at a critical time and get a copy of this collectible book.

22 books sold. $755 raised for Cooper. Keep it up!

New York/Lower East Side

Join me for the opening of The Yard, a new co-working space on the Lower East Side. I will be showing a large portion of the work exhibited in March at Dillon Gallery. If you missed the show at Dillon, this is your second chance. The 4×5 foot prints look spectacular. I’ll be there with books to sign.

The Yard is located on the corner directly opposite the Tenement Museum shop, and across Delancey Street from the corner that I photographed in 1980 and 2010. Hope to see you there.



6:00PM – 8:00PM


The Lower East Side’s new space to work presents celebrates the history and future of one of New York’s most vibrant neighborhoods. Enjoy food, drinks, music, and art representing the best of yesterday and today.

Featuring the photography of Brian Rose from his book Time and Space on the Lower East Side.

Ice Cream Sandwiches by Melt Bakery
Photobooth by The Majestic Photobooth Company
Beer by Brooklyn Brewery
Wine by September Wines
Music by Mr. Gibbons

Special thanks to Lower East Side BID, Motivated Foods, and Pressler Collaborative

New York/WTC

rapeze School, Pier 40 — © Brian Rose

Yesterday, I took my view camera to Pier 40, the former passenger ship dock at the western end of Houston Street. The pier is now being used as a sports facility, and I’ve been there many times for my son’s baseball games. On the roof of the building there is a soccer field and a trapeze school. I’ve had my eye on the roof for some time for a photograph of One World Trade Center, which is nearing completion, and rises impressively in the background. I am currently looking for shots of the tower to complete my book WTC, which I plan to publish next year.

It was a beautiful warm afternoon and I arrived around 6:30, setting up my camera just inside the gate, and doing a series of pictures over the course of 45 minutes. The staff was very friendly, and I appreciate their allowing access to the space. What I wanted was a shot looking downtown with the trapeze apparatus in the foreground, preferably with someone in the air to the left. Everything came together nicely. The photo above was made with my pocket camera placed directly on top of the view camera. So, just about the same shot. The view camera exposures were probably a bit longer (1/60th of a second at f16.5), so we’ll see later how much the figures on the trapeze are blurred.

This could make a good closing image for the book.