Category Archives: Brooklyn

New York/Red Hook

Red Hook, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

Back in the city. Summer winding down. “Here’s Johnny.”

 

Red Hook, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

 

 

Red Hook, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

 

 

New York/Photoville

Williamsburg, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

 

Williamsburg, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

 

Brooklyn Bridge Park — © Brian Rose

Photoville, a photo fair/expo located in a not yet finished section of Brooklyn Bridge Park is comprised of two main parts–printed images on vinyl running along a chain link fence, and a cluster of shipping containers that act as galleries. The containers in the photo above aren’t actually part of Photoville, but are nearby.

 

Photoville fence, photo by Timoth Fadek — © Brian Rose

The fence works well, facing west and getting full afternoon light. Many of the photographs chosen by a jury were excellent, and I was happy to see that each photographer was given a chance to show a series of images. The containers, however, were dark and uninviting in the extremely bright and warm sunshine. Even though it was relatively pleasant summer afternoon, the little village of containers and tents fairly baked under the sun.

 

Photoville fence, photos by Jeffrey Stockbridge — © Brian Rose

 

Photoville fence, photos by Peter Andrew Lusztyk —  © Brian Rose

 

Brooklyn Bridge Park — © Brian Rose

I could imagine an entire exhibition done with photographs printed on vinyl in different sizes mounted on lengths of chain link fencing. Something with a bit more visual dynamic given the visual drama just opposite, seen in the image above.

 

New York/Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum

In the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum on my way to the Keith Haring exhibition.

Keith Haring 1978-1982, the Brooklyn Museum — © Brian Rose

As well known as Haring is–certainly everyone has seen his highly graphic images even if only in a commercial context–but until now there hasn’t been a more serious assessment of his work. There’s always a danger when the established art world takes on a street artist by putting the work into a conventional gallery context. Haring was best seen in situ–in the wild. But that was 30 years ago, around the same time I was taking my early photographs of the Lower East Side. Since then, we have mostly experienced Haring on t-shirts and tote bags.

Keith Haring 1978-1982, the Brooklyn Museum — © Brian Rose

 This exhibition does two things–it documents through photographs, slides, and video how Haring worked and interacted with the art and music scene of the time, and it presents his work in the broader context of late 20th century art. Although he reused the same graphic elements frequently, this exhibit shows Haring to be a far more complex artist than previously assumed. He was just getting started when he was cut down by AIDS in 1989.

Keith Haring 1978-1982, the Brooklyn Museum — © Brian Rose

For me, however, Haring’s was at his best at his simplest and most spontaneous–the white chalk drawings on black paper that he did throughout the New York subway system. Back then, when ads were replaced, black paper with a toothy matte surface temporarily filled the billboard frames on the subway platforms providing an enticing canvas for Haring. I saw him once in the Bleecker Street station of the #6 train (the old IRT) sketching alone, moving rapidly from one black frame to another.

It’s not ideal putting them behind reflective plexi in the museum–though I’m sure they are fragile and have to protected. I don’t know how many actually survived, but you can see images of dozens of them– 35mm slide documents of the originals–in an adjacent gallery.

I always liked Haring’s imagery, but tended to dismiss it as commercial fluff, though I understood its relationship to earlier Pop Art. He was both commercial and an artist of substance. This exhibit helps set the record straight.

 

New York/Williamsburg


Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

If you’re building your own sukkah, here are the basic materials you will need:

The Walls: The walls of a sukkah can be made of any material, provided that they are sturdy enough that they do not move in a normal wind. You can use wood or fiberglass panels, waterproof fabrics attached to a metal frame, etc. You can also use pre-existing walls (i.e, the exterior walls of your home, patio or garage) as one or more of the sukkah walls. An existing structure that is roofless or has a removable roof can also be made into a sukkah by covering it with proper sechach.

The Roof Covering: The sukkah needs to be covered with sechach—raw, unfinished vegetable matter. Common sukkah roof-coverings are: bamboo poles, evergreen branches, reeds, corn stalks, narrow strips (1×1 or 1×2) of unfinished lumber, or special sechach mats.

 

 

 

New York/East New York


East New York — © Brian Rose

I spent the day in East New York photographing a new low income apartment building. It’s in a neighborhood of single family homes and other new apartment buildings. The big housing blocks that East New York is known for are some distance away. Not that many years ago, this area would have had a blown apart look with lots of vacant lots and abandonment. Things have changed substantially, but it is still a rough edged place. A glimpse of my project can be seen at far right above.


East New York — © Brian Rose

Across the street there was a large truck and bus repair shop and a woodworking shop. On the adjacent  corner a used car dealer and seller of gravestones.  Nearby, is a large “transit technology” school.


East New York — © Brian Rose

During the day, the area exhibits a fairly relaxed atmosphere, but the conspicuous use of window gates, fences, and other security measures, suggests a different aspect. And indeed, after dark the area showed a more menacing face. My assistant and I arrived by subway, carrying a camera case and small lighting kit, but chose to take a car service back. Nevertheless, with every new project of the kind I was photographing, the neighborhood becomes more stable and livable.

New York/WTC


Smith Street, Brooklyn (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

I finally got the film back from the subway trip to Smith Street in the area near the Gowanus Canal. The image in WTC was from my small digital camera–the one above is from a 4×5 negative. Several pictures I took there are usable, but I think I will stick with this view.


West Street (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

This is the 4×5 version of an image posted earlier show 1 WTC and 7 WTC in the center.


Info kiosk with 1 and 7 WTC (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

I will update my WTC book with the images above and the two below. I’ve felt that the series needed strengthening near the end. These should do the trick.

At this point, unless something unexpected happens with a publisher, I am planning on putting this book out on Blurb in two sizes–the full size 11×13 hardcover and an 8×10 hard and softcover. The smaller books will sell for $45 to $55 as opposed to $100 plus for the larger size. From an aesthetic standpoint, the 11×13 best conveys the monumental nature of the subject, but the small book will look good, too. All three of my self-produced books will be available in the 8×10 format including Time and Space on the Lower East Side and Berlin: In from the Cold.

I’ll post a new link to the updated book once it’s ready. Link here.

New York/Gowanus Canal


Smith Street Station, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I have been piecing together a series of images that relate directly or indirectly to the World Trade Center. A couple of years ago I came across a Twin Towers mural near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. I did a quick snapshot of it with the intention of returning to photograph it with the view camera. This morning, I finally got back there.

I took the F Train, which emerges from underground just past Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. The tracks are carried high up on a massive steel bridge that spans the Gowanus Canal, an infamously polluted industrial area that has become a haven for artists, and as a result, ripe for upper middle class development. With the downturn in the economy, however, and given the cost of cleaning up the area, not much has happened. The Gowanus is still a fabulously gritty blue collar lowland between Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, two of Brooklyn’s most desirable neighborhoods.


WTC mural on Smith Street, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

Across the street from the subway entrance is a somewhat forlorn car wash decorated with tattered red white and blue streamers–but across Smith Street a row of old houses with slanted roofs and dormer windows is being renovated. The WTC mural with its flag motif  is painted on the side of a small building next to a chain linked vacant lot. Across the street from the mural is a heating oil depot where trucks drive up and fill their tanks. A glass enclosed command post overlooks the operation, and when I set up my camera on the asphalt just off the sidewalk, I was informed by a stern voice coming over a loudspeaker that I was standing on private property. I managed to get off one shot with my 4×5 camera.


Smith Street, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

Retreating from the oil depot, I went across the street and set up the camera at an oblique angle to the mural. Promptly, a gruff voice barked accusingly, “Are you taking a picture of my truck?” I jerked my head toward the voice, and saw a grinning face sitting behind the wheel of a truck with a battered container mounted behind. He was kidding. I told him I just got yelled at by the guys across the street, and was a little jumpy. We chatted a bit, he smiled for the camera and roared off.


WTC mural on Smith Street, Brooklyn — © Brian Rose

Here is the image taken from “private property.” And while I think the 4×5 shot will be good, I really like these two white trucks caught left and right in the frame. You don’t see it the pictures, but there were lots of people walking around–some pretty damaged people it seemed to me–probably coming from some sort of social services facility nearby. Others were standing around under the subway viaduct waiting for a bus, or perhaps, waiting to be picked up as day laborers.

One guy started talking to me, asked me what I was doing. I pointed to the mural and told him I was photographing WTC things. He asked me about the mosque/cultural center proposed for downtown near ground zero. I looked at him more intently–he seemed to be Hispanic–I didn’t ask him where he was from. He had just seen an article in the paper. The group building the center was applying for money meant to support projects around the Word Trade Center site. The right wingers were agitating again. He wanted to know what I thought about it. I said, ” I know Christians, Jews, and I know Muslims. This is New York. I think they should be able to build their center. He said, somewhat to my surprise, “I’m with you.”