Category Archives: Lower East Side

New York/2013!

brooklynbridge1980

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/Lower East Side

Continuing my series of pictures taken under and nearby the Manhattan Bridge. Made in conjunction with my ICP class, Photographing New York: the Lower East Side.

 

Cherry Street, under the Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

 

Monroe Street — © Brian Rose

 

Monroe Street — © Brian Rose

 

Forsyth Street – © Brian Rose

 

Forsyth Street — © Brian Rose

 

Canal Street, approach to the Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

New York/Lower East Side

Brendan, my 14 year old son, at the Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

Last week my ICP class went to the area around the Manhattan Bridge on the Lower East Side. We were working off an iconic photograph by Berenice Abbott of Pike Slip looking toward one of the bridge towers. At the time her photograph was made, tenements crowded around the massive stone architecture and steel engineering that began near the Bowery and soared over the city before spanning the East River. The bridge continues to exert a dominant presence in the urban landscape, though most of the tenements have been torn down, replaced by housing projects, parks and ball fields. However, a part of Chinatown still borders the bridge with its hustle and bustle, and colorfully cluttered shopping malls have been constructed beneath the supports of the bridge. At Monroe Street, a there is an elaborate skatepark  hemmed between the massive stone piers of the bridge. It is a spectacular setting, a mecca for skateboarders and bmx’ers.

Yesterday, I took my 14 year old son with me for a photo walk around the bridge.

 

Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

 

Under the Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

 

Skatepark under the Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

 

Skatepark under the Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

 

Skatepark under the Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

 

Park adjacent the Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

 

Under the Manhattan Bridge — © Brian Rose

 

 

 

New York/Lower East Side

More small camera photographs of Orchard Street made while accompanying my photo class from ICP. Pick a place as historically and visually rich as this and the possibilities are limitless.

See my other photos posted previously.

 

Orchard and Delancey Street — © Brian Rose

 

Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

Orchard  and Division Street — © Brian Rose

 

Grand and Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

Orchard and Division Street — © Brian Rose

 

Division and Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

Division and Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

 

 

 

New York/Lower East Side

I went with my ICP class, Photographing New York, the Lower East Side, down to Orchard Street for a group shooting expedition. One of the goals of the class is to produce a book of our photographs using Blurb, the online book service. Normally, there are ten sessions, but thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the time frame has become rather compressed. So, rather than waiting for each student’s individual projects to take shape, I decided that we would work together on two specific LES locations, over a two week period.

On Monday we spent three hours shooting Orchard Street from end to end–Houston Street down to Division Street. Orchard remains the Lower East Side’s most iconic street, it’s 19th century architecture relatively intact, and it is the location of the Tenement Museum. The day was sunny and very warm for this time of year–in the 60s. I shot pictures along with the class using my pocket digital camera. Here are some of my photos:

 

Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

Rivington at Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

Orchard Street — © Brian Rose

 

Orchard and Division Street — © Brian Rose

Additional photos here. 

New York/Lower East Side

On the bus, the Lower East Side — © Brian Rose

The event at Van Alen Books went well on Friday evening. A small crowd, but a very cool place, where the tiered levels normally used to display books, turns into seating space. I did a slide presentation of Time and Space on the Lower East Side and then engaged in conversation with Sean Corcoran, photography curator of the Museum of the City of New York.  I’d like to thank the folks at Van Alen  for having me, and Sean for his participation.

 

 

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.

 

New York/The Low Line

The Lowline exhibition

Underneath the street at the foot of the Williamsburg bridge is an abandoned underground trolley storage facility. Until recently, few knew about this hidden space.

From the New York Times:
James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, come to the project with prestigious résumés (Yale and NASA in Mr. Ramsey’s case, Cornell and Google for Mr. Barasch). They want to convert the space into a subterranean park, using fiber-optic technology to channel in natural light — enough light, in fact, to allow photosynthesis to occur and, as a result, for plants to thrive.

The proposal is called the Lowline, named  to echo the High Line, the elevated park built on the old rail viaduct slicing through Manhattan’s westside. Ramsey and Barasch and a host of other supporters and collaborators have put together an exhibition in a disused market building adjacent to the trolley site. In it they have built a prototype of the sun collectors and created a mini landscape comprised of a tree, ferns, and moss. I had been somewhat skeptical of the concept until seeing the exhibit–I imagined the lighting being indirect and dim. But the actual impression is of a shaft of sunlight penetrating the darkness. An array of these collectors would produce an underground world brightly illuminated by daylight.

There are a lot of  reasons for the Lowline to fail–the fact that the Metropolitan Transit Authority owns the space and wants to maximize the value of this otherwise dead space. The cost of building and maintaining such an elaborate piece of infrastructure. The bureaucratic red tape inherent in any New York City project, no matter how straight forward–and this would be anything but straight forward.

On the other hand, more than 10,000 people have passed through the Low Line exhibition in two weekends, an extraordinary number. The project has clearly seized the imagination of the city and beyond.

While visiting the exhibit yesterday I met briefly with Margaret Chin, Lower East Side city councilwoman, who is supporting the project, and then spoke with Dan Barasch. He was familiar with my book Time and Space on the Lower East Side, and I suggested that there might be a way I could support their project through my photography. I would love to be involved in some way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York/BreakThru Radio

It’s not often that I get to showcase my photography and music together. This is an interview on BreakThru Radio about my book Time and Space on the Lower East Side. Thomas Seely, the DJ, typically mixes indie rock songs with his interviews with visual artists. He does the same in my case, but also plays my song Tenement Stairs, which was written back in 1980 when I first photographed the neighborhood. I originally recorded the song for the Fast Folk Musical Magazine, but this is a newer recording. 

I really love how the whole thing turned out. It’s internet radio, so you can listen at your leisure.

BreakThru Radio interview

Brian Rose’s new book of photographs, Time and Space on the Lower East Side, is all about  how we experience change, or lack of it, in the urban environment. The book is a collection of large format color photographs taken on the streets of New York City’s Lower East Side in the years 1980 and 2010. Over those 30 years the Lower East Side has gone from being a symbol of urban blight and decay to a poster-child for urban renewal and gentrification. But,  Brian’s  book is not a collection of side-by-side comparisons contrasting two different eras of the neighborhood, like the books in which a picture from one location is juxtaposed with a picture taken from the same spot many years later. Instead, the photographs in Time and Space on the Lower East Side reveal the year in which they were taken through small details like a pedestrian’s bellbottoms, the design of a parked car, or the typography on a billboard. That is, if the photos reveal their age at all. More often than not  you can’t really tell what year any given picture was taken in without a thorough examination.

This is what makes Brian’s book so  unique:  it looks at what stays the same in a city as much as it does the things that are gentrified, torn down or rebuilt. It forces us to move past simplistic story-lines about a neighborhood’s transformation and look more carefully at the urban landscapes we move through every day. This approach provides a rare opportunity to see one of the world’s most over-photographed cities in a new way.

Recently I visited Brian at his studio on the Lower East Side. We talked about the neighborhood’s apocalyptic feel in the 1980s, why he returned to the Lower East Side in 2010 to photographs, and how for him, sometimes doing nothing is the best way to make a photograph.

New York/ICP Class

 

The above paragraph is from the ICP school catalog for this fall.  Anyone interested in taking the class, Photographing New York: The Lower East Side,  please follow this link. The last time I taught this class, we made a terrific book , which is viewable on the Blurb website here.

We begin the class by walking through the Lower East Side together, talking about its history, geography, and we discuss the changes that have overtaken the neighborhood in recent years. Throughout the semester I show the work of prominent photographers who have made images of the LES. From there, each student picks a theme or subject to photograph, and the next 4 or 5 weeks are spent making pictures. After that, the process of creating a book begins. We arrive at a conceptual framework, develop a layout, and work up the images in Photoshop or Lightroom. The final session is a book presentation and party. The whole class is only ten weeks, so a lot has to get done in a very compressed time period. Last year, it was a nail biting experience for me–would we get it all done in time?  But the final product was completed on schedule, and I have to say, it was all quite exhilarating.

If you want to learn a lot about photography, the Lower East Side, bookmaking, and, perhaps, something about yourself, join in the fun and sign up.

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.