Category Archives: On the Road

New York/Richmond, Virginia

 

Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia — © Brian Rose

I made a quick escape from post-Sandy New York to get to a burial service in Richmond, Virginia for my aunt and uncle–my aunt died recently–and their ashes were buried together according to their wishes. It was difficult getting out of New York in the aftermath of the storm, but I was able to book a flight to Washington, D.C., and then drive to Richmond.

The burial was in Hollywood Cemetery, a historic, dramatically gothic landscape of rolling hills, perched on a bluff overlooking the James River. It was a crisp fall day, the trees in full color.

 

Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia — © Brian Rose

 

Richmond skyline and the James River — © Brian Rose

I arrived at the burial service just as it was about to begin, and hastily parked my car down the hill away from the small knot of family and friends assembled by the grave site. After the service I retrieved my car, which was standing next to an odd grouping of statues decorated with several confederate flags, and realized to my surprise that this was the grave of Jefferson Davis, the one time president of the Confederacy.

 

Grave of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy — © Brian Rose

As I drove out of the cemetery I came across a huge stone pyramid built in memory of the Civil War dead. There were more confederate flags scattered about the stones, and as much as I understand the complex historic symbolism of the flag, the sight still gives me a chill. I find it hard to separate the flag from its connection to slavery and the lingering presence of racism in society–and the atmosphere around the current presidential election only sharpens that awareness.

 

Monument dedicated to Civil War dead — © Brian Rose

I express these reservations in light of my own family history, some of which I’ve only discovered in recent weeks. My mother’s side of the family traces its roots to Mississippi, and my great great great grandfather was killed at the battle of Vicksburg. For all I know, there is a stone marker for him down there, like one of these in Hollywood Cemetery.

Update: I checked. There is a marker in Vicksburg for my ancestor.

 

Hollywood Cemetery plaque — © Brian Rose

The plaque above, placed next to the pyramid reads:

A MEMORIAL TO THE
CONFEDERATE WOMEN
OF VIRGINIA, 1861-1865
THE LEGISLATURE OF VIRGINIA
OF 1914, HAS AT THE
SOLICITATION OF LADIES
HOLLYWOOD
MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION
AND DAUGHTERS OF
CONFEDERACY OF VIRGINIA
PLACED IN PERPETUAL CARE
THIS SECTION WHERE LIE BURIED
EIGHTEEN THOUSAND
CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS

New York/Buffalo

Manhatta Timeline, ArtSpace Buffalo — © Brian Rose

I am presently exhibiting work at ArtSpace Buffalo, a non-profit gallery, along with paintings and drawings by  J. Tim Raymond and Robert Harding. Tim, who is the organizer of the show, lives in Buffalo, and Bob Harding is a painter from New York City. The gallery is in an old factory buildings converted into artists lofts, and because of its immense size, I opted to show large pieces. The photographs are 40×50 inches and the mural, WTC, which I previously mounted on a sidewalk shed on East 4th Street in the East Village, is 4×28 feet.

 

Manhatta Timeline, ArtSpace Buffalo — © Brian Rose

The title of my part of the exhibition is Manhatta Timeline and takes its name from the short film made by Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand in 1921 featuring images of New York City. The name is derived from the original Indian name for the island, Mannahatta, and the film includes quotes from the Walt Whitman poem of the same name. Timeline refers to the sequence of four images that begin at the north end of Manhattan in Inwood Park with the Hudson River and Palisades in the background. The sequence then moves down the Hudson to the World Trade Center in the 1980s, and concludes with a multi-layered urban scene from 2012 that includes a sign with the names of those killed on 9/11. The montage of WTC closeups is itself a visual yardstick with a searing strip of blue sky in the middle.

…I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays, superb,
Rich, hemm’d thick all around with sailships and steamships, an
island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender, strong,
light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies…

from Mannahatta by Walt Whitman

 

Inwood Park (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

 

Hudson Heights (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

 

World Trade Center (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

 

Washington Street (4×5 film) — © Brian Rose

 

 

 

New York/Wyoming

Big Sandy Ranch gate — © Brian Rose

We arrived just before dark to the Big Sandy Ranch in the desolate Mars-like landscape of Wyoming on the western slope of the Wind River Range. Fires burning far to the west produced a haze that reddened as the sun went down. The ranch is located at the confluence of three creeks coming out of the mountains making it a favorable spot for grazing cattle or sheep, although at almost 8,000 feet, snowed-in for much of the year.

 

Big Sandy Ranch — © Brian Rose

The history of the ranch is microcosm of American western history. First occupied by the Shoshone Indians, then explored by the mountain men and beaver trappers, then a way station on the Oregon Trail, it saw thousands of wagon trains heading for California and Oregon. The original trail ran a short distance away over the South Pass, a gradual incline over the Continental Divide, and the spur of the trail running through the ranch, called the Lander Cutoff, was created as a more expeditious route to the west.

 

Big Sandy Ranch — © Brian Rose

Very little has changed on the ranch since the days of the Oregon Trail. Some of the structures are original, others have been modified or added to. A Native-American made teepee stands next to the so-called “Lincoln Cabin.” Sam Leckie was the first owner, and operated the Sheepherder’s Delight, a saloon that was the scene of numerous murders, most notoriously his own, leaving the place to his pregnant wife and several children.

Orrin Moore, in the employ of Posten brothers, had trouble with Mr. Leckie in the store and was ordered out and fired at several times.  He proceeded to his wagon, secured his Winchester, and returning fired at Leckie who was standing in the door, hitting him between the eyes, and literally tearing off the top of his head.

The motto on a sign at the saloon read:

LIVE WHILE YOU LIVE, FOR YOU’LL BE A LONG TIME DEAD

 

For decades the property was operated as a dude ranch with guests staying in the various cabins. Eventually, the Flanigan family bought the ranch, named it the Big Sandy, for the largest of the nearby creeks, and continue to maintain the historic nature of the structures and landscape. A full accounting of the history of the ranch can be found here

They were in the Rocky Mountains, by God, with no lawmen to tell them what to do, no tax men to charge them for doing it, & no preachers or high-falutin’ women to tell them that a man’s pleasure wasn’t right.

 

Big Sandy Ranch teepee — © Brian Rose

 It was the homeland of the Shoshone Indians and provided summer camps for the Bannock, Crow, Gros Ventre and Blackfoot.  Sheepeaters lived high in the mountains.  Indians ranged over every part of what is now Sublette County from the edge of the high glaciers to the desert.   They hunted to survive.  It was then as it is today, one of the greatest wildlife habitats ever known.

 

The Big Sandy Ranch — © Brian Rose

 

The Big Sandy Ranch — © Brian Rose

 

Dead moose cow on the Oregon Trail — © Brian Rose

The pictures above were made with a digital point-and-shoot, but some of them I also did with my 4×5 view camera–to be processed later. I stayed at the ranch and surrounding area for a week.  Made a few stops at points along the Oregon Trail, and drove up to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. I also visited friends at another ranch only 20 miles from the Big Sandy. I met a number of wonderful people at the ranch, and am grateful to my dear friend Brigid Flanigan for inviting me to enjoy this special place with her family.

 

 

New York/Wyoming

Somewhere in Wyoming — © Brian Rose

I haven’t posted anything for about a week because I’ve been here (see above). No internet, almost no phone, no paved roads, only a couple of hours of electricity a day. Despite that I managed to keep my camera battery charged as well as take a few photographs with my 4×5 camera, which, of course, does not require charging anything.

I’m back in New York, and will post some more photos shortly.

 

New York/Amsterdam

Amsterdam waterfront — © Brian Rose

The last photographs from my recent trip to Amsterdam. These were taken along the waterfront of the city on the Ij, once an inlet of the Zuider Zee, now an inland waterway connecting to the North Sea and the Rhein River. Although little new construction is underway in Amsterdam because of the economic crisis in Europe, there are major projects that are completed or near completion along the Ij. Above one can see Nemo, the science museum, designed by Renzo Piano, on the right. And to the left the new library/hotel/office complex adjacent to Central Station, partially finished. This picture was taken inside Arcam, the Amsterdam architecture center. I did not use my view camera on this walk–all were made with my point and shoot digital.

 

Eye film museum and Shell Building — © Brian Rose

Across the Ij (pronounced eye, more or less) is Eye, the new film museum of Amsterdam. It is designed by the Austrian firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects and does a wonderful architectural tango with the Shell Tower from 1966. The latter building is currently empty and for sale.

 

Ijdok complex and film museum — © Brian Rose

Nearing completion is the Ijdok, a multi-purpose complex including courts, hotel, offices and residences perched on a pier on the water. click here to see computer generated renderings of this fascinating ensemble of buildings.

 

Westerdoksdijk — © Brian Rose

 

Westerdokseiland — © Brian Rose

A narrow strip of land that previously served as a rail siding for the nearby Central Station is now a handsome row of apartment buildings with inner courtyards and pedestrian promenade along the water. This new neighborhood lies within a few steps of the old canal district of central Amsterdam.

New York/Amsterdam

On my last day in Amsterdam the weather improved and I was able to get out with the view camera. I picked up where I left off five years ago in Ijburg on the edge of the city. The view then was of mostly empty landfill–it is now densely built. But it still feels detached to me from the rest of the city, and during the day, somnolent, empty. I took one photograph of a residential street that leads to a row of commercial office buildings, and then crossed over a bridge to the Diemerzeedijk, a historic dike that once protected Amsterdam from the vicissitudes of the Zuider Zee. The area has been used as an industrial dumping ground and remains polluted, though now contained. It is being developed as parkland.

© Brian Rose

© Brian Rose

© Brian Rose

© Brian Rose

In the distance one sees the  Enneüs Heerma Bridge designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, and following a bicycle path one crosses a busy shipping canal on a spectacular bridge, the Nesciobrug, designed by Jim Eyre. A long looping causeway  leads to the bridge allowing for a gradual incline. The Amsterdam Ring highway stands a short distance away with its billboards.

 

© Brian Rose

© Brian Rose

All of these photographs were made with the 4×5 view camera as well as my pocket digital. The sun shone in and out through a broken deck of clouds, a striking phenomenon all afternoon. I feel both alienated and at home in these transitional areas of the city–places that are neither here nor there. It’s how I felt in general during the 15 years I lived in the Netherlands traveling back and forth to New York. I was an untethered agent caught between continents and cultures. Although I am now ensconced in New York City, I easily slide back to that state of uncertainty, in which the world appears new and strange. Even in my hometown.

Amsterdam/New York

Just arrived back in New York after 10 days in the Netherlands. Two quick visual anecdotes from Amsterdam.

Amstel, near the Blauwbrug, Amsterdam  — © Brian Rose

 

Prinsengracht, Amsterdam — © Brian Rose

 

 

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.

The Netherlands/Texel

Texel, The Netherlands – © Brian Rose

Uh oh. After a couple of decent days, the weather has deteriorated. This is the watery view out of the picture window of our house in Den Hoorn at the south end of Texel on the North Sea coast. Tomorrow we head for Amsterdam.

The Slufter, Texel, The Netherlands – © Brian Rose

Yesterday, we drove around the island revisiting the campsite where my wife’s family used to go for summer vacation. It’s now little houses with lots of amenities instead of tents. Nearby is the Slufter, a tidal inlet among the dunes. We walked through it about a half mile to the sea. Depending on the time of year, tide, and weather, it can be mostly dry or mostly covered by water. Only a small stream flowed through at the time of our walk.

That’s Brendan my 13 year old son on the left, An, my mother in law in the middle, and Renee, my wife on the right.

The Netherlands/Texel

Texel – © Brian Rose

Despite a less than stellar forecast, the weather stayed beautiful all day, and I took my 4×5 camera for a four hour trek through the dunes that stand between the North Sea and the polder on the inland side of Texel. Left alone, the island would be a narrow arc of shifting sand rather than egg-shaped as it is now. At least 2/3 of the island is artificial land.

 

Texel – © Brian Rose

The pictures here were made with my pocket camera, but all were based on compositions set up with the view camera. Sometimes, I actually place my point-and-shoot on top of the 4×5 camera to take as close to the same view as possible. The walk was a 6 mile loop on grassy trails and sand, and I did most of it barefoot. It got a little tough slogging through deep sand with my photo equipment, but mostly this was an easy, pleasurable, walk. Had the weather been less favorable, the whole experience would have been radically different.

 

Texel – © Brian Rose

An odd object that looked like giant shipwrecked calculator with numbers and symbols was leaning against a dune. A few nude sunbathers were lying in the swales of sand just out of view.

 

Texel – © Brian Rose

A little further along near a parking lot and snack bar there are storage huts that are owned or are rented by frequent users of the beach.

 

Texel – © Brian Rose

On the road back to the village of Den Hoorn where I am staying.

 

Texel – © Brian Rose

Back at the house at the end of my walk I was offered a plate of new herring, cut into small bite size pieces served with diced raw onions. The Dutch are not known for their haute cuisine, but it doesn’t get any better than this.

The Netherlands/Den Hoorn

Den Hoorn, The Netherlands – © Brian Rose

It’s been five years since I was last in the Netherlands. I lived in Amsterdam for almost 15 years, traveling back and forth to New York as needed for work. We’re on vacation visiting my wife’s parents on the island of Texel on the North Sea coast. The weather is, as is common here, wisselvallig, or changeable. It rained heavily between the airport and Texel, then the sun came out for several hours, and we were able to eat dinner in the garden. We then took a walk through the surrounding countryside  and the clouds once again rolled in.

We’ll be here for five days and then in Amsterdam. The photo above was taken near our house with my digital blog camera. But I have brought my view camera and may get out in the dunes nearby if the weather holds out. And then possibly add to my series on Amsterdam’s periphery.

New York/Newark, New Jersey


Rutgers University, Newark campus — © Brian Rose

Friday I was on assignment in Newark photographing a couple of renovated classrooms at Rutgers University. The campus, adjacent to downtown is a hodgepodge of different architectural styles built at different times, but the central campus was constructed in the late 60s/early 70s in what is commonly referred to as brutalism. I’ve written about brutalism before with regards to a Robert Geddes building at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a sublime example of a much maligned architectural movement.

It can be a hard to love architecture in that it typically utilizes raw concrete poured into wooden forms–beton brut is the original French term–and many people find it cold, even forbidding. But some of the great architects of the 20th century worked in this idiom including Corbusier and Louis Kahn.

The Rutgers campus in Newark isn’t likely to be compared to Kahn’s Salk Institute, but it is, nevertheless, a fine example of brutalism used to create a sensitively scaled urban environment. Alas, I cannot find a single reference to the architecture of the campus on the internet other than in passing references to urban renewal and the racial tensions present in Newark at the time.

I will ask around and hopefully report back with the  name of the architect or firm that did the project. If anyone knows, by all means speak up. The photo above shows only one of the buildings (Boyden Hall), taken as I was leaving the job, which fronts on University Avenue.

Update:

I’ve been able to find out at least partial information about the Rutgers Newark campus. I read online that Grad and Grad (later the Grad Partnership) had proposed high rises for the urban renewal area that became the campus. That plan was apparently scuttled, but Grad continued to play a role in the project designing various buildings including the Robeson Campus Center.

According to David Nelson, an architect who emailed me earlier today, “Boyden and Conklin Halls, and the Dana Library, were designed by Kelly & Gruzen (now Gruzen Samton), with offices in New York and Maplewood, NJ. The drawings are dated 1964.” Gruzen has been a leading architectural firm in NYC for many years.

Up above I praised a building by Robert Geddes on the campus of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and sure enough, Hill Hall, one of the most interesting of the Rutgers structures is by Geddes Brecher Qualls Cunningham–the same Geddes. I still don’t know who was responsible for the master plan, but I am pleased to discover that the individual buildings were designed by some of the leading architects of the 1960s. It is a time period in architectural history that is often undervalued, and accordingly, the Rutgers Newark campus deserves more appreciation. If I get back there again, I’ll take some more photographs.

 

Portsmouth, Virginia


High Street, Portsmouth, Virginia — © Brian Rose

My mother, sister, and I drove around the Hampton Roads area revisiting places where we once lived, or places that held some significance. Near the picture above, I remember–at age 4–going to a bowling alley above an A&P supermarket. My mother was a competitive duckpin bowler in those days. I remember the pins were set by hand–by young black boys. It was a segregated city then, and it is still. The whites have moved out except for the beautifully preserved Old Town, and much of the city looks like a smaller version of Detroit.

 

New York/Williamsburg, Virginia


My sister, father, and me one week ago in Williamsburg.

It has been a roller coaster of a weekend for me. Saturday, a story and interview about my photos of the World Trade Center ran on the homepage of CNN. Today, I rushed down to Virginia after receiving a phone call informing me that my 90 year old father was rapidly slipping away. I arrived too late. He died this afternoon before I got there.

The photo above was taken a week ago. After an extended stay in the hospital and in rehab, my father had come back home to his assisted living apartment. It was a short-lived, but triumphant return. He was happy to be with friends and in familiar surroundings. My sister and I wheeled him around the building greeting residents along the way, and we  sat with him in the dining room accompanied by his table buddies. It appeared, fleetingly, that he might resume a measure of his former routine. But it was not to be.

 

New York/Deep River, Connecticut


From E25th Street — © Brian Rose

Finished several photo shoots and then got out of town to join up with former members of the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums performing at the annual Deep River muster in Connecticut. Some of us have a hard time keeping up our musical chops and remembering all the tunes, but we have enough who can still play admirably. Our sound remains unmistakable, famous within the fife and drum world.

Here we are on Main Street in Deep River:

We stopped at this spot on Main Street to duplicate a photograph taken of the corps back in the early 1960s, before my time. I joined in 1964. The photographer gestures for the banner holders (one of whom is my son Brendan) to move forward out of the shot.

Although we continue to perform music from the 18th century in an authentic style, that’s as far as it goes. No tri-cornered hats, knee breeches or buckled shoes. In fact, three of us marched sans shoes. I’m the tall one. From there we marched to Devitt Field where we opened the afternoon’s stand performances by playing the National Anthem. The present Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums does perform in full costume.

Back in New York on Sunday I replaced my dead Sigma DP1 camera with the newer DP1x. It’s not a perfect camera, but it produces astounding quality for something that fits in a pocket. Ability to shoot RAW files and a large sensor make the DP1 special. Sometimes sensor size is more important than megapixels. That’s the case with this camera.