Category Archives: Books

New York/Lower East Side

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Time and Space on display at the Tenement Museum Store — © Brian Rose

It has been one year since Time and Space on the Lower East Side was published, and over 800 of approximately 1,100 books have been sold — well on the way to selling out. At the moment, I have no plans to go to a second printing. So, the first edition is undoubtedly something worth collecting. You can always go to my website to purchase, or to one of the independent booksellers in Manhattan like the Tenement Museum store above. I am now shifting gears to working on a new book, WTC, partnering again with Bill Diodato of Golden Section Publishers. This book will focus on the skyline of New York, principally the Twin Towers and their replacement One World Trade Center, and includes pictures from 1978 to the present.

I found this recently — the blog I Fear Brooklyn. Bob Hill, who keeps the blog wrote a short but wonderful encomium to Time and Space on the Lower East Side. Hill writes:

…Time & Space presents the New York that we talk about when we talk about New York. The beauty of this exhibition being Brian Rose set out again a few short years ago, this time to document the same East Side a full three decades now removed. If anything, these photos serve as a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same. But they also leave a sense of setting out again at twilight, if not the very awkward feeling it’s much later than you know.

Of all the things written about Time and Space, this is my favorite.

 

 

 

New York/New York Times

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Time and Space on the Lower East Side featured in the New York Times. It will run in the print edition of the Metropolitan section of the Sunday Times and online.

Exhibition opens this Thursday:

Dillon Gallery
555 W25th Street
New York, NY 10001

March 7 – April 9
Opening Reception, Thursday 6-8pm

 

 

 

New York/East Village/Lower East Side

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Broadway and East 9th Street — © Brian Rose

 

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Ridge Street — © Brian Rose

A few random pictures and random thoughts. As my Lower East Side show approaches I wonder how (or if) the work will be put in context with the photography being made back in the late 70s, and the way in which I connect the work to the present. One of the important points I have tried to make in the book is that the past and present are intertwined, and not neatly separated into before and after as is the usual practice. That said, the photographs I did with Edward Fausty were made as color photography was just beginning to enter the mainstream of art photography. The way we used color and the view camera to describe the streets and architecture of the LES at a particular moment in history had not been done before–at least to my knowledge–and has only been done rarely since. I think of recent work by Robert Polidori in Havana or Andrew Moore in Detroit as examples of the latter. But in 1979 I was thinking about the steady gaze of Atget and Evans with the view camera, and the kinetic energy of Frank and Friedlander  with the 35mm.

There’s a book coming out soon called Color Rush by Katherine A. Bussard and Lisa Hostetler that tells the story of color photography from its inception to the early ’80s. The website blurb says: The book begins with the 1907 unveiling of autochrome, the first commercially available color process, and continues up through the 1981 landmark survey show and book The New Color Photography, which hailed the widespread acceptance of color photography in contemporary art.

Alas, my LES work will not be included. It was shown in 1981 in a large exhibition, reviewed in the Times, but then went underground not to be seen again until now with Time and Space on the Lower East Side. I’m not going to go into the reasons why that happened–for the moment–but what I feel good about is that the re-emergence of this work is not primarily a nostalgia trip back to the ruins of the past. It is presented as a fresh portrayal of a place, one that challenges easy assumptions about how to look at the past and how to look at photographs of different eras juxtaposed as they are in Time and Space.

Joerg Colberg on his blog Conscientious recently reviewed the reissue of the book American Prospects by Joel Sternfeld. He states: As a photographer, Sternfeld has certainly had enormous influence on a whole generation of American photographers. For example, it is not hard to see Alec Soth’s Sleeping By The Mississippi follow some of the traces laid out in Sternfeld’s travels and book. The American large-format photography craze might be on the way out now, though – just like its German (Düsseldorf) counterpart it simply appears to have run its course. 

I guess there was a craze at some point, but I hate to see things discussed in this off-hand way, that a certain popular style has just run its course, and we can now move on. I’m picking on Joerg here, a thoughtful writer about photography who was writing a positive review of Sternfeld’s book, but for me, my work has little to do with any kind of craze or particular attachment to the influence of contemporary photographers. It has been a long hard slog stretching over decades.

Critics, curators, and the art market are, of course, fond of defining movements and putting things into convenient boxes. A photographer does something innovative, which is then shown in the galleries, the critics jump, and then the art students follow en masse. This is an obvious scenario, but it goes on and on. At any rate, I am proud to be one of the early adopters of color photography dedicated to a descriptive exploration of the landscape. And as I continue to extend my long term projects and begin new ones, I will not accept the notion that looking at the visually tangible world with a critical eye has lost its relevance to contemporary art and culture.

If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a cimeter, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business.
–Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 

 

 

New York/2013!

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Brooklyn Bridge 1980 — © Brian Rose/Edward Fausty

Time and Space on the Lower East Side came out near the end of May 2012. Deciding to do the book with a small independent publisher–after several rejections by established companies–was a big step. Raising money via Kickstarter was also a major undertaking, but in the end it not only helped financially, but created a core constituency for the book. Above all, I am thankful to Bill Diodato, who created Golden Section Publishers to do books like mine that, otherwise, might not find a way out into the world. Let’s face it, getting one’s work before the public is an essential part of being an artist. And in that regard I have not always been successful.

My songwriter friend Jack Hardy, used to criticize, if not belittle, those who strove for a larger audience or worked to build commercial standing–he would say that the work was all that mattered, and everything else would take care of itself. Or not, as I have discovered after years of doing what amounts to a lot of work. Part of the problem was that I never had enough money to shift the starting line forward, which is how many people seemingly got off the blocks early.  I’ve had to work slowly, deliberately, sometimes in smaller bites, building projects that by accretion became almost epic in scale like the Lower East Side project or my photographs of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain. Ultimately, maybe Jack was right. The work is the thing. I just had to get out and get the ball rolling.

So, I’m not here to complain as we enter 2013. Time and Space has been a success. There are now fewer than 500 books left of the 1,100 printed. I’m already beginning to plan a follow-up, a book about the World Trade Center with pictures from 1978 to the present. And I’m pleased to announce that Time and Space on the Lower East Side will be given a major exhibition at the Dillon Gallery located in the Chelsea art district of New York.  The opening is set for March 7, more details to follow soon.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York/Van Alen Books

TIME AND SPACE ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE
BY BRIAN ROSE

A Slide Presentation and Book Signing

Join photographer Brian Rose and Sean Corcoran, Museum of the City of New York Curator of Prints and Photographs, for a conversation on photography, place, time, and change.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 7PM

VAN ALEN BOOKS
NYC’S ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN BOOKSTORE

30 W. 22ND STREET, GROUND FL, NEW YORK, NY

…these clear, sharp, detailed images present more visual information than the eye can take in. They are a view across time and space, beyond the merely human perspective. This complex and handsomely-presented project is a portrait, or map, of a place, which challenges our assumptions about urban street photography. -Photo Eye Magazine

Time and Space Website
Van Alen Books

 

New York/Van Alen Slide Talk

TIME AND SPACE ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE
BY BRIAN ROSE

A Slide Presentation and Book Signing

Join photographer Brian Rose and Sean Corcoran, Museum of the City of New York Curator of Prints and Photographs, for a conversation on photography, place, time, and change.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 7PM

VAN ALEN BOOKS
NYC’S ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN BOOKSTORE

30 W. 22ND STREET, GROUND FL, NEW YORK, NY

…these clear, sharp, detailed images present more visual information than the eye can take in. They are a view across time and space, beyond the merely human perspective. This complex and handsomely-presented project is a portrait, or map, of a place, which challenges our assumptions about urban street photography. -Photo Eye Magazine

Time and Space Website
Van Alen Books

 

New York/Lower East Side

Delancey and Clinton Street — © Brian Rose

On Saturday I went to the NY Art Book Fair at PS 1 in Queens. All kinds of art publishers from big to small, serious to silly, or both simultaneously. The museum was jammed with people, the galleries uncomfortably hot–how can this many people be interested in arcane and esoteric artists’ books? And where does all the money come from, since obviously, very few can actually make money on books of this sort. I don’t know whether to be encouraged or depressed about the whole thing.

I introduced myself at a number of photography publisher’s tables, showed my book around, felt like an outsider more than a participant in this book publishing mania. Watched people’s jaws drop when I told them I had sold more than 500 books since releasing Time and Space on the Lower East Side at the end of May. With no distribution. Nevertheless, few people I talked to were familiar with my book despite its getting a fair amount of publicity. The photography crowd is still not clued in, and I obviously have a lot of work to do.

New York/Time and Space

 

I’m not sure what the meaning of it is, but Blake Andrews in his blog B has created a compass graphic locating a bunch of books that have geographical titles. I am pleased to find Time and Space on the Lower East Side over on the right. Lower east, of course.

It strikes me, as I go about marketing my book, that there are actually very few current art photography books that deal with New York City. A couple of book buyers have mentioned it. Another buyer rejected my book saying it was too New York specific. An attitude that somehow assumes New York to be a narrow subject not relevant to his region–Texas. The reality is that Time and Space is doing well with non-New Yorkers and foreigners. Moreover, the Lower East Side is the great immigrant neighborhood of American history, and today, it continues to be a bellwether of where we are going in New York and beyond.

There are undoubtedly many photographers doing interesting book-worthy work here in New York. The fact that this work is not finding its way into finished books available to the general public speaks to the present lack of options for photographers. There are only a handful of publishers located here in the city that could bring out this kind of content, and none are stepping up to the plate. On the one hand, there are more photographs being made than ever–frighteningly more than ever–and more photo books are being made as well. There’s a lot of action on Blurb and other self-publishing platforms, and there are lots of art books being made, few of which involve the kind of budgets that highly polished photo books require. Meanwhile, a relatively small number of well-known photographers continue to publish regularly. I don’t know whether to be encouraged or discouraged.

 

The Netherlands/Amsterdam

Review in Photo-Eye Magazine

After four days on the island of Texel on the coast of the Netherlands, I am now in Amsterdam. Day before yesterday we had a book party for my Dutch friends and Kickstarter backers. It took place in a beautiful house in the canal district near the Rijksmuseum, and we had at least 30 guests. The atmosphere was warm and convivial. Yesterday, we got a late start, but were able to enjoy some sterling weather (finally), and walked around the center of the city. I stopped in Architectura and Natura, one of my favorite bookstores in Amsterdam, and I am hoping to have Time and Space for sale there soon.

The review I have been waiting for just came in from Photo-Eye written by Faye Robson. Here are a few quotes:

With its carnival atmosphere – the fluttering streamers in the top third of the frame, multi-coloured buildings and cars, and the dynamically positioned boy who swings a baseball bat right into the centre of the image – the image seems to suggest a clarity of vision to match the clarity of composition.

Layering and multiplicity are watchwords for this collection; from the texts that pepper the book – ranging in subject and tone from the macro-historical to the anecdotal (the General Slocum disaster) – to the views across streets and round corners that lay bare the city grid, both its thriving and desolate spaces.

Despite its title, the book cannot even be read in a straightforwardly chronological manner. The photographs are divided fairly evenly between those taken in 1980, in collaboration with Ed Fausty, and images made in 2010 by Rose alone. However, the structure of the book thwarts attempts to compare and contrast the two sets of images either formally or with respect to the neighbourhood they document.

That Rose decided to use a view camera for this project reveals a great deal about his approach – these clear, sharp, detailed images present more visual information than the eye can take in. They are a view across time and space, beyond the merely human perspective. This complex and handsomely-presented project is a portrait, or map, of a place, which challenges our assumptions about urban street photography.

This is an in depth review–the first one to really dig into what the book is about, and I am very pleased with it. Read the whole thing here.

New York/The Daily Beast

My interview with the Daily Beast about Time and Space on the Lower East Side.

It’s been an interesting process acting as distributor and promoter of the book. I’ve enjoyed meeting people and talking about the book, but the legwork not so much. My assistant Chris Gallagher and I have managed to get the book in most of the bookstores in Manhattan as well as several in Brooklyn. We’re gradually spreading the net further–still working on more PR, and hopefully, a couple of more substantial reviews. Overall, I’m pretty happy with how things have gone so far.

Link to the Daily Beast interview is here.

 

New York/Interview

 

EV Grieve, the popular East Village based blog, has run an interview with me. It includes my thoughts about photographing the Lower East Side as well as my take on the neighborhood today.

From the interview:

People don’t understand that in 1980 the LES was hanging on by a thread, every night the sirens wailed as one more building was torched, one more life was snuffed out by drugs or murder. Yes, we saw ourselves as heroic artists scratching out songs and paintings against a backdrop of urban apocalypse — you can see it in the pictures — but that time is gone forever, for better or worse. As I write in “Time and Space,” the future is rushing in, reoccupying the old tenements, and transforming a place known more for the slow resonance of its history. Even my photographs from 2010 are beginning to look like artifacts of a time gone by.

New York/Recent Press

 

I’ve been gett a lot of press since releasing Time and Space on the Lower East Side a few weeks ago. A number of blogs have posted articles or galleries, but this is the first article from what is referred to (sometimes disparagingly) as the mainstream media. It’s a nice article, available online, as well as getting generous space in the Saturday print edition of the paper.

 

The Local: East Village is a blog affiliated with the New York Times and NYU’s journalism school. They did a story last year about my World Trade Center mural on East 4th Street. This presentation is a particularly good integration of text and photos.

New York/Little Italy

Alex Harsley, Clic Bookstore and Gallery — © Brian Rose

I only took one photo during the book launch for Time and Space on the Lower East Side, and that one at the very beginning. The rest of the time I was occupied. Alex Harsley of the 4th Street Photo Gallery was an early arrival, and behind him is Alexandra Uzik–not sure how she ended up there–who took some pictures for her blog.

After the crush last week mailing out over a hundred books–mostly to my Kickstarter backers–and doing all the legwork to prepare for the book launch, I am happily relaxing this Memorial Day weekend.

New York/Time and Space Review

Review in Conscientious

From Joerg Colberg’s review in his highly respected blog Conscientious:

Anyway, what you can take away from Time and Space on the Lower East Side is that its maker really loves the city and, of course, that he is a very good photographer. The images all were done with a large-format camera, so they offer a carefully constructed frame that might or might not be filled with a lot of life and details. It’s not necessarily a New York I’ve seen too often in photographs, and I really enjoy looking at the combination of cityscapes, street scenes, and details. Various of the spreads pair the same or very similar setting thirty years apart – things have changed, and they haven’t.

Maybe all that talk about money really is just surface, and underneath, New York – or at least Manhattan’s Lower East Side – simply is what it has always been: A pretty great, unique place.

Read the whole thing here.