Category Archives: On the Road

New York/Hudson

End of summer musings, Hudson, New York.

© Brian Rose

© Brian Rose

© Brian Rose

© Brian Rose

© Brian Rose

Above is the future home of the Marina Abramovic performance art center.



New York/New Haven

In the middle of doing an exhibition at Dillon Gallery, and releasing my book about the Meatpacking District, I got a very special architectural photography assignment. The newly renovated Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University. It’s one of the most awe inspiring buildings in the Collegiate Gothic style. Designed by James Gamble Rogers, it was completed in 1930. It follows the basic form of a cathedral with central nave, side aisles, transept, and sanctuary.

From Wikipedia:  A mural in Yale University’s Sterling Memorial Library depicts the Alma Mater as a bearer of light and truth standing in the midst of the personified arts and sciences, painted in 1932 by Eugene Savage. Throughout the building the various crafts of the period are celebrated — stained glass, stone carving, decorative painting, and cabinetry. Those elements, combined with the lightness and airiness of the architecture, make it a 1930s building. There are even hints of Art Deco in the tower housing the book stacks rising behind the nave.

The nave — © Brian Rose

The transept — © Brian Rose

Alma Mater — © Brian Rose

sterling017The side aisle/lounge — © Brian Rose

The side aisle/lounge — © Brian Rose

The building was restored mostly to its original appearance. The card files, which are no longer used, hide heating, air conditioning, and electronic systems. It’s essentially a modern building underneath. It was a two day shoot and a ton of post production Photoshop work. But what a privilege to get this kind of a job. The preservation architecture was done by Helpern Architects.


The Netherlands/Texel/Den Hoorn

denhoornchurchDen Hoorn, Texel, The Netherlands — © Brian Rose

The weather has been exceptionally good, but in the evenings, fog sometimes rolls in off the sea. I made this image with the 4×5 camera as well.

Texel/The Netherlands

dunetrees01Texel, the Netherlands — © Brian Rose

I am in the Netherlands with my family on vacation. Yesterday evening I went out with my view camera and did a series of photographs of a small grove trees in the dunes along the coast of Texel, an island on the North Sea. Picture above made with my digital camera sitting on top of the view camera.

New York/San Francisco

an Francisco courtyard — © Brian Rose

A brief trip to San Francisco for my sister’s wedding. Her new husband is Andrew Barnett, the noted coffee expert who, soon, is opening a cafe in the Mission. Cathy and Andrew were married in City Hall just as the first same-sex weddings began after last weeks’s historic Supreme Court decision. There was a buzz of anticipation in City Hall as new officiating trainees were brought in to handle the coming overflow.

We stayed in architect David Baker’s place, also in the Mission. The weather was incredible. Sunlight flames in the courtyard.





EMP in Seattle — © Brian Rose

EMP is not one of Frank Gehry’s better buildings. It tries way to hard, makes too many moves, is junky rather than elegant. Nevertheless, there are moments. Here’s Jimi Hendrix and the undulating skin of the building.



Seattle/Public Library

OMA’s (Rem Koolhaas) public library in Seattle, a fixture of downtown, now almost ten years old. I had seen photographs, which were impressive, but having been disappointed by some of Koolhaas’s buildings in the past, I wanted to see this one in person. The exterior is a bit jarring–wedged tightly into a difficult sloping site–like the nearby city hall. But its origami-esque planes make it a strong, if impersonal, sculptural form, next to the comparatively fussy civic building by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Inside, there are familiar Koolhaas concepts like the continuous ramp linking the different levels of book stacks, and the industrial metal egg crate railings and cheesy padded acoustic panels are materials he’s used elsewhere. What’s different, however, is the drama of the interior spaces–at times vertigo inducing–but tightly controlled and organized conceptually. What was great was to see this most challenging architectural environment full of people, using it comfortably, reading, lounging, working on computers. But Koolhaas’s buildings never sit cozily, nor play by the rules. Certainly not this one.

Here are some snapshots taken with my point-and-shoot.

















Vancouver — © Brian Rose


Vancouver — © Brian Rose


Vancouver — © Brian Rose

totempolesVancouver — © Brian Rose

Without comment.



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:

OF VIRGINIA, 1861-1865

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:



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