Saturday, February 13, 2010

New York/Good Bye to Blogger

Blogger/Google is dropping its support for ftp blog publishing next month. For those of us wishing to keep our photographs and other files on our own server that means migrating to a new platform--WordPress.

So, here goes nothing. Hopefully nothing.

New URL: http://www.brianrose.com/journal/

New York/Chelsea


Disneyland Castle 1962 by Diane Arbus

In Chelsea before the big snowfall, I went to the Richard Misrach show (see post below), and across the street, to see new photographs by Williams Eggleston and older, unpeopled, photographs by Diane Arbus. This Arbus work, though less known, has much of the same foreboding, edgy quality as her portraits. In the adjacent gallery, Eggleston's bright saturated prints seem almost blinding after the Arbus darkness.


Photograph by William Eggleston -- © Brian Rose

The Eggleston images are the usual visual nonsequiturs--often fascinating, often forgettable--inspired randomness at its best. But what does one take away from all this sniffing around? Without the history, it's hard to imagine this work getting a show. I'm not sure if that reflects poorly on Eggleston or on the current state of our visual acuity. Whatever the case, after looking at Eggleston pictures, I end up seeing Eggleston pictures everywhere I go.


Photograph by William Eggleston -- © Brian Rose


W23rd Street -- © Brian Rose

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

New York/Chelsea


10th Avenue -- © Brian Rose

After a year and a half of exposure to this virulently toxic presence, the question on the table is: In our lifetime, has there ever been a worse human being in American politics than Sarah Palin? For all the morons and criminals and bigots we've been subjected to, has there been anyone else who has combined all of the fetid qualities -- the proud ignorance, the sadistic viciousness, the shameless hypocrisy, the arrogant laziness, the congenital dishonesty, the unctuous sanctimony, the bilious resentment, and whichever others I'm forgetting for the moment -- that this morals-free harridan so relentlessly displays? (Not to mention that atonal bray with which she communicates it all.)

-- Paul Slansky

Sunday, February 07, 2010

New York/Richard Misrach

As a landscape photographer working in color with a view camera I have always had enormous respect for Richard Misrach. I own several of his books, and regard him as a pioneer in the field. After years of sticking to a reliable, if predictable, way of working, Misrach has recently experimented with different points of view--the beach series--and now, has begun exploring digital photography, both with camera and print.


Photograph by Richard Misrach -- from On the Beach

The current show at Pace Wildenstein presents a series of large scale photographs printed as negative images, that is, inverted in Photoshop. Going to the gallery I had trepidations about the work having seen a few small images on the Internet. My first reaction on seeing the actual prints, however, was that I found them seductively beautiful, especially at such a size. And I was not troubled by the trick of inverting the images.

Since leaving the gallery, I've been having second thoughts, and I've gone back and forth on my opinion of the validity of the "the trick." It's not that this kind of thing is unheard of in the history of the medium. On the contrary, such experimentation has long been a part of the development of photography from Man Ray to recent color enhanced views of the surface of Mars.


Richard Misrach show at Pace Wildenstein -- © Brian Rose
Mouse over for effect, click through to larger image.

Looking at my snapshots of the exhibit I began thinking that the prints were essentially inverted versions of typical Misrach scenes of the American west, no more, no less. The inversion gave them an otherworldly appearance, but really, they were less strange once the initial disorientation wore off.

And then suddenly I thought, what if I flipped the images in Photoshop. What would they look like? First, I inverted whole snapshots, but then just the images within their frames. The startling result can be seen by mousing over the snapshots posted above and below.






Richard Misrach show at Pace Wildenstein -- © Brian Rose
Mouse over for effect, click through to larger image.

I've decided, for the moment, that I prefer the more abstract images because they are less recognizable as landscapes, but I'm still wrestling with the whole thing. As gorgeous as the prints are, I'm more and more convinced that the negative effect is too much a Photoshop product, a passing infatuation with digital wizardry. Very simplistic wizardry at that. And I'm put off by the press release language: Misrach’s newest pictures – the majority of which are made entirely without film – mark a radical shift from his past work and herald a new era in photography’s history.

Entirely without film. Wow.



Richard Misrach show at Pace Wildenstein -- © Brian Rose
Mouse over for effect, click through to larger image.

I still really love the image of stars in motion, the first picture one sees entering the gallery. The sky is white and the streaking stars are black. And I like the "Pollock" evocation above, which is disorienting without being inverted. It's positively a positive.

Friday, February 05, 2010

New York/Columbia University


Knox Hall, Columbia University -- © Brian Rose

Assignment work photographing Knox Hall at Columbia University for the architects. Aside from shooting the lobby, classrooms, and various offices, I photographed the geothermal well system in the basement. The four wells are 1,800 feet deep and the system heats and air conditions the building reducing energy consumption by 50 or 60%. Here is a somewhat technical explanation of how it all works.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New York/West Village


Leroy Street -- © Brian Rose

Without comment.

Monday, February 01, 2010

New York/Brooklyn Heights


Plymouth Church, Brooklyn Heights (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

On a recent assignment, I photographed Plymouth Church for the magazine America's Civil War. This was the church where Henry Ward Beecher, the famous abolitionist preacher, delivered his sermons. Beecher's sister was Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, the best selling anti-slavery novel. Abraham Lincoln sat in one of the pews at right listening to Beecher the day before his Cooper Union speech, which helped propel him to the White House.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.


Abraham Lincoln by Matthew Brady

Lincoln was originally supposed to give his speech at Plymouth Church, but as I was told by the church historian, Brooklyn was deemed too difficult to get to for the invited dignitaries. The Brooklyn Bridge was not constructed until 1883. So, the location was changed to Cooper Union in Manhattan. On his way to Cooper, Lincoln stopped in Matthew Brady's studio at Bleecker and Broadway and had his portrait taken. Brady later documented the Civil War, and his photographs remain some of the most powerful depictions of war ever made.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New York/West Village


Hudson Street -- © Brian Rose

Without comment.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Berlin/Leninplatz


Leninplatz, Berlin, 1990-- © Brian Rose

Spiegel Online International:

In a sign of how time is healing Berlin's wounds, the city plans to dig up the giant Lenin monument it famously buried in 1991 and place it in a new museum for disgraced statues. The works will span the communist and Nazi eras and date far back into Prussian times.


Full article here.


One of the things I've noticed in my recent trips to Berlin is a greater acknowledgment that visitors come to Berlin to see and feel history, however painful much of it may be. For years, Nazi sites were mostly unidentified, hidden. Then the Wall was hastily removed, communist monuments ripped down. Now, there is a greater openness along with regrets about what was lost. There are serious attempts to present and interpret history such as the Topography of Terror as well as kitschy Trabi rentals and fake G.I.s posing for pictures at Checkpoint Charlie. I still haven't made up my mind about Peter Eisenman's Holocaust Memorial, but it is irrevocably planted--a vast field of stones--in the heart of the German capitol.

New York/Houston Street


Houston Street -- © Brian Rose

Winter light on Houston Street.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Trenton/Kahn Bath House


Trenton Bath House, Louis Kahn -- © Brian Rose

In the next couple of weeks I hope to photograph the Trenton Bath House, one of architect Louis Kahn's earliest works in its current almost ruined state. This modest, but sublime structure, is about to be restored, and amazingly, considering its pedigree, will be returned to its use as changing rooms and showers for a community swimming pool.


Trenton Bath House, Louis Kahn -- © Brian Rose

I took these pictures while walking through the project with Michael Mills, partner of Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects (FMG), a Princeton firm that specializes in preservation. The history of the bath house and a description of the plans for restoring the building can be found here.


Trenton Bath House, Louis Kahn -- © Brian Rose

In an email to Michael Mills expressing what I feel is the importance of photographing the bath house before restoration takes place, I wrote this:

There is also something seductive about seeing the bath house now. Coming across it in its winter abandonment, it feels like the discovery of some ancient temple ruin. There is a solemnity about it--a poignancy--a silence full of the meaning that Kahn invested in this otherwise utilitarian recreational project. That authenticity will be partially, and inevitably lost, though the building will be reborn, and will again assume its original purpose. The restored project will express Kahn's design undisturbed by later interventions and neglect, but the present moment is unique--a historical juncture--and I think that it deserves full and considered documentation.

A few months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I had the opportunity take a tour of Erich Mendelsohn's Einstein Tower, an icon of early 20th century architecture located just outside Berlin in Potsdam. Most of those on the tour were East Germans who had signed up before the Wall had opened. I brought my view camera along, despite the inconvenience of lugging such equipment, hoping to get at least one good photograph. After a tedious hour-long slide talk about the solar observatory, we were led to the building, sitting forlornly, but miraculous--rundown like most structures in the east--but essentially frozen in time. I managed to get a half dozen pictures of the tower including an interior complete with original Mendelsohn furniture and cabinetwork, still in use. After the reunification of Germany, the Einstein Tower was beautifully restored, but there is something about the photographs I took that day in 1990 that can't be captured in the present.

Such moments in time are worth documenting.


Trenton Bath House, Louis Kahn -- © Brian Rose


Trenton Bath House, Louis Kahn -- © Brian Rose

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New York/West Village


Christopher and Hudson Streets -- © Brian Rose

No walls. Buy clothes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New York/Beford-Stuyvesant


Bergen Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant -- © Brian Rose

Without comment.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New York/Bedford Avenue


Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- © Brian Rose

Without comment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New York/Around Town


Bergen Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant -- © Brian Rose


Wythe Street, Williamsburg -- © Brian Rose


Park Avenue, East Harlem -- © Brian Rose


The Bowery -- © Brian Rose

Without comment.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New York/Joel Meyerowitz


Meyerowitz exhibition at MCNY -- © Brian Rose

Writing about Joel Meyerowitz is complicated for me. While a student at MICA in Baltimore in the mid '70s, I saw his color street photography, and having just begun shooting color myself, I endeavored to go to New York and study with him at Cooper Union. My success at getting into Cooper was a critical event in my life, and the experiences I had there greatly influenced and shaped my later career.

Meyerowitz's show at the Museum of the City of New York, Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks, is particularly problematic for me to write about because I did my own survey of New York's natural park areas back in the '80s, 30 years before Meyerowitz came to the subject on his own. Go here to see that work.


Meyerowitz exhibition at MCNY -- © Brian Rose

I really like this image, party balloons incongruously discovered in the depths of apparent wilderness, actually a fenced-off patch of Central Park.

Legacy, the exhibition, seems to me unsure about its focus and intention. It seeks to be at once a celebration of the richness of New York's surprisingly spacious natural landscape, and a showcase of Joel Meyerowitz, "master photographer." But because the images are grouped primarily by borough and park, other possible lines of continuity and inquiry are cut off. A different organization of photographs could have revealed deeper connections in content and method of working. There are any number of substantial images in the exhibit, but their cumulative power has been dispersed. What we're presented with is a user-friendly Baedeker to New York's natural parks.


Meyerowitz exhibition at MCNY -- © Brian Rose

A fantasia of red and green, an unnaturally vibrant print, in my view.

Another factor cheapening the impact of many of the images is the overly saturated color--the blindingly phosphorescent greens and reds--nothing like the beautifully modulated color of Meyerowitz's earlier analog prints. New York's parks have been digitally enhanced.


Meyerowitz exhibition at MCNY -- © Brian Rose

The opening wall-sized murals printed on loose, Tyvek paper are nothing less than cringe inducing--Meyerowitz photographs as shower curtains. Unfortunately, a few of the strongest images in the show--once you're past the Bronx River adventure ride (seen above)--are printed in this way.


Photograph by Joel Meyerowitz

The naked armature of an immense tree in Brooklyn, thick branches almost defying gravity. An admirably straightforward image made without any need for visual contrivance.

Much of what went wrong with Legacy can be found here:

“Experiencing the print quality and longevity of HP Designjet photo printers was a key turning point in my own personal digital transformation,” said Joel Meyerowitz. “HP’s innovative printing technology has made it easy to express my work in new, creative ways and with this project, I was not only able to showcase exhibit-quality prints but also high-quality, immersive wall graphics that capture the essence of New York City’s parks.” Go here for the whole press release.

Enough said.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New York/E103rd Street


E103rd Street and Lexington Avenue -- © Brian Rose

Manhattan, "island of many hills" from the Lenape language, seems mostly flat, but there are places where you are reminded of the original name. At 103rd Street on the east side, Spanish Harlem, there is a slope of near San Francisco pitch. To the south of 96th Street it is called Carnegie Hill, which is a tony Upper Side neighborhood.


E103rd Street -- © Brian Rose

Monday, January 11, 2010

New York/Crosby Street


Cervin Robinson -- © Brian Rose

Making my usual morning walk across town I came upon Cervin Robinson at Houston and Crosby Street. He was photographing the Bayard-Condict Building, Louis Sullivan's only New York structure. Robinson has photographed this building before--and many other Sullivan buildings.

Here's a screen capture of one his photographs of the same building made many years ago.


Photograph by Cervin Robinson

I didn't linger to chat with Cervin because I could see that at that moment a shaft of low winter light was raking perfectly across the facade of the building at the top of Crosby Street.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New York/No Photos Allowed


Crosby Street -- © Brian Rose

I was drawn into Crosby Street just off Houston by the ASPCA truck with a large cat face gazing slightly upward. It was parked in front of Happy Paws Daycare with a lot of happy dogs cavorting in the windows along the street.



Unhappily there were signs on each plate glass window stating "No Photos Allowed." Never mind the fact that a private business can not legally prevent one from taking pictures on a public street in this city or any other in the United States. See first amendment for reference.


University Place -- © Brian Rose

A few blocks away I found this storefront.

Friday, January 08, 2010

New York/Prince Street


Prince Street -- © Brian Rose


Prince Street -- © Brian Rose

Without comment.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New York/Franklin, Virginia


Funeral home, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose

It was not a happy circumstance that brought me across the James River to Franklin, Virginia two summers ago. A cherished aunt had passed away after a long convalescence. The mood was somber, but also relieved, as her long struggle had finally ended peacefully.


Funeral home, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


After the funeral, family members gathered at Fred’s, a comfortably informal bistro on Main Street. I slipped out during the afternoon to take photographs of downtown Franklin. I walked the empty street shooting storefronts, peanut silos, and a former theater. In the distance I could just make out the smokestacks of the International Paper Mill, formerly Union Camp, where Aunt Louise worked for much of her life.


Main Street, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Main Street, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Main Street, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose

When the Camp family owned the mill, most of the wealth stayed in town, and large houses were built on the bluff above the Blackwater River. The river, Franklin’s reason for being, has also been its nemesis. In 1999 hurricane Floyd left the downtown underwater, and a storm in 2006 did further damage. Despite efforts to rejuvenate downtown—most buildings appeared in good condition--many storefronts remain empty or underutilized.


Main Street, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Main Street, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Main Street, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose

Although the Camp name is still prominent in Franklin, the fate of the mill, and by default, the economic well being of the whole area was long ago put into the hands of a global corporation. Just two months ago, International Paper decided to close the plant, putting 1,100 employees out of work, along with another 2,000 workers in related services.


Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Peanut silos, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


I think of Louise, her pride and self-sufficiency. As hard as it was for me to picture her toiling on an assembly line year after year, I know she retired with the satisfaction that she had earned her keep, and could afford to live comfortably, if frugally, as she got older. But what if they had closed the plant on her?


Undoubtedly, Franklin will survive—but it will be hard. Perhaps, eventually, a more diversified economy will emerge as the orbits of Hampton Roads and Richmond expand outward. But I’m not sure I want to see malls and highways overrunning small cities like Franklin, displacing the surrounding cotton and peanut fields, and carpeting over the history—with all its blood, sweat, and tears—of the Southside of the James.


Paper mill, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Lyon's State Theatre, Main Street, Franklin, Virginia -- © Brian Rose

NPR story on Franklin here.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New York/Long Island City


P.S.1, Long Island City -- © Brian Rose

Coming out of P.S.1, the Long Island City art museum, I pressed my camera up against the wall and did an almost sharp time exposure. In the foreground are metal tubes left over from an earlier installation. Having just seen Robert Bergman's haunted and hollowed out faces at the museum I find myself in a rather somber mood as the 00's come to an end.


Robert Bergman photograph at P.S. 1 -- © Brian Rose

Bergman's photographs are beautiful, disturbingly so. But I don't subscribe to Toni Morrison's description of his pictures that they assert "community, the unextinguishable sacredness of the human race." It has become obligatory to find redemptive qualities where none exists. Not that the people in Bergman's photos lack human tenacity--of course they do--but their faces express the damage of surviving on the margins of society, held in the amber glow of Bergman's light and color. They are roadside totems--mute, unidentified--storied eyes that suggest hard wisdom. But most of us would recoil from these quite likely rambling, chaotic, figures in the flesh.


Robert Bergman photograph at P.S. 1 -- © Brian Rose

The beauty found belies a cruelty, one of the central dichotomies of photography, that people and things must be "sacrificed" on the altar of art. The redemption, if there is any, is that Bergman succeeds at street portraiture where so many other photographers fail, and with these gravely intense images, the end justifies the means.


Washington Post article here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Williamsburg, Virginia

A series of photographs taken while visiting family in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was actually quite crowded in the restored area, and one either embraces the throng or not. I chose--this time--to go with quiet views on a couple of cloudy days. An antidote, perhaps, for somewhat too much seasonal good cheer and togetherness. Williamsburg can be quite beautiful in the winter, especially after the new year when the tourist traffic thins out.


Williamsburg, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Williamsburg, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Williamsburg, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Williamsburg, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Williamsburg, Virginia -- © Brian Rose

Monday, December 28, 2009

New York/Eastern Shore


Painter, Virginia -- © Brian Rose

We headed down to Virginia for the holiday to see my father who lives in Williamsburg. Instead of subjecting myself to 8 hours of stressful interstate driving I decided to take the Eastern Shore route, which took us through the farming areas of the Delmarva peninsula. We stopped a few times for pictures along the way.


Painter, Virginia -- © Brian Rose


Painter, Virginia -- © Brian Rose

Lots of God, country, and guns in these parts. Also, beaches, crabbing, truck farming, poultry--even a NASA research facility.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New York/Williamsburg


Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- © Brian Rose

Tis the season.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New York/LES


La Mama gallery, E1st Street -- © Brian Rose

The large Lower East Side print I made for my exhibition in Brooklyn last summer, is now hanging in a group show at La Mama gallery on E1st Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue. It's a holiday exhibition featuring friends of La Mama, the pioneering theater located on E4th Street, the block where I used to live.

I had a nice chat with Howard Guttenplan the director of the Millenium Film Workshop, also on 4th Street, who had a photo collage in the exhibit. Millenium has been around for forty years promoting independent cinema, particularly art and documentary films.

The exhibition at La Mama is a grab bag of stuff of differing levels of accomplishment. It's meant to be an inclusive show. The opening was well attended, nicely catered, and I was very pleased with how my photograph looked on the wall. Now, if only I can find a home for it when the show comes down.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New York/Berlin

The last--probably--of the 4x5 film scans of from my recent trip to Berlin. I shot about 60 sheets of film, so there's lots to work with. Some of these are similar to digital pics posted earlier. When things get reduced to 72 dpi, the difference between the 4x5 scans and the images made with my pocket camera can seem minimal. But I think these have greater clarity, and more presence somehow. Obviously, when printed, the difference is huge.


Alexanderplatz (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose


Alexanderplatz (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

A fascinating exhibition about the political resistance that undermined the DDR regime--and other East European countries--and helped lead to the fall of the Wall in 1989. The American and western perspective, in general, is so oriented to Cold War geopolitics, that this side of the story is almost completely ignored. It is a profound misrepresentation of history, and exhibits like this, bit by bit, offer a much needed corrective.


Niederkirchnerstrasse (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

Berlin Wall marker with push button audio commentary.


Vossstrasse (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

One of the many scaffold buildings around Berlin. Some of them depict buildings to be rebuilt or reimagined, and others are simply giant canvases for advertising. A Microsoft Windows ad was on the the front side of this one, which formed part of the former, and future, streetwall of Leipziger Platz.


Topography of Terror (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose


Brandenburg Gate (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

Cameras in position on December 8th, for the following evening's event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New York/Noho


Lafayette Street -- © Brian Rose

Without comment.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New York/Downtown


Beekman Tower seen from Water Street -- © Brian Rose

The Lower Manhattan skyline lost a great deal of its iconic power when the Twin Towers, soaring above everything else, were destroyed in 2001. Even before that, the slender early to mid 20th century towers were robbed of their elegance by bulky monoliths closing off the gaps of sky between. No longer like a spiky seismograph, Lower Manhattan's profile from many angles became a solid wall of glass and masonry.

There is a building under construction, however, that will significantly alter the visual dynamic of the downtown skyline. Designed by Frank Gehry, Beekman Tower, situated near the open space of City Hall Park, has already established itself as a clear punctuation mark on the horizon. It is an exceptionally tall, relatively thin, tower. For good or ill, depending on your perspective or vantage point, it interacts visually with the filigreed spire of the Woolworth Building and the stone/wire yin and yang of the nearby Brooklyn Bridge.


Beekman Tower -- © Brian Rose

The skin is now about a third of the way up, undulating silvery waves, accentuating the extreme verticality of the structure. That's something the pinstripes of the Twin Towers did--if banally. Beekman Tower will never dominate the skyline like the World Trade Center, then or in the future. But Gehry's "No Viagra" (his words) erection downtown will be one of the few postwar skyscapers that join company with the Empire State Building and Chrysler in providing a sense of urban thrill, and unabashed New York bravado.

Monday, December 07, 2009

New York/Berlin


Unter den Linden (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

This is a 4x5 scan of an image seen previously. The grassy field is the site of the former Palast der Republik, East German government/cultural center. And before that, it was the site of the 18th century Stadtschloss, seen printed on fabric in the rear. The idea is to rebuild the facades of the older palace.


DDR Museum (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

The East German palace is gone--but not forgotten--and its glass facade has also been printed on fabric, hung on the structure of the temporary DDR Museum. There are such printed scaffold buildings all over Berlin.


DDR mural, Leipziger Strasse (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

Very real is this mural in the former air ministry building, which was dates back to the early days of the German Democratic Republic. Here's some information from Wikipedia:

In 1950-52 an extraordinary 18 meter long mural was created at the north end along Leipziger Straße, set back behind pillars, made out of Meissen porcelain tiles. Created by the German painter and commercial artist Max Lingner together with 14 artisans, it depicts the Socialist ideal of contented East Germans facing a bright future as one big happy family. In fact the mural’s creation had been a somewhat messy affair. Commissioned by Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl, Lingner had had to revise it no fewer than five times, so that it ultimately bore little resemblance to the first draft. Originally based on family scenes, the final version had a more sinister look about it, a series of jovial set-pieces with an almost military undertone, people in marching poise and with fixed, uniform smiles on their faces. Lingner hated it (as well as Grotewohl’s interference) and refused to look at it when going past. With a degree of irony, the building became the focal point a year later of the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany.


East Side Gallery (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

I've only got a few more scans to work on from my recent trip to Berlin. The photograph above was the last piece of film I shot, and shows a bit of the remaining stretch of wall called the East Side Gallery near the Ost Bahnhof in former East Berlin. The Wall along here was painted on by various artists shortly after the Wall opened up in 1989. The image of Mstislav Rostropovich performing in front of the Wall at the center of the photograph is not one of the original paintings--but I like it.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

New York/Berlin


Near the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

Novevember 9, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. This was as close as I got to the ceremony at the Brandenburg Gate. I stood for an hour in a cold steady rain with my view camera, managing to take two photographs. I like the balloons. Everyone was just waiting for the dominoes to fall, which they did a couple of hours later, well behind schedule. By that time I had retreated to a warm dry place to watch on TV.

Still more 4x5 scans to come.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New York/Berlin


The Brandenburg Gate (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose


Wilhelmstrasse (4x5 film) -- © Brian Rose

Continuing with 4x5 film images from the week of the 50th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Both of these were seen earlier in digital camera versions. The two pictures above key on what has become the universal symbol of the old DDR (East Germany), the Trabant. The top one is from a PayPal commercial that ran repeatedly on the big screens between Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate, and the bottom one is from the Trabi Safari where the now vintage cars are for rent.

Here the balloon appears slightly ominous, the world untethered, floating out of control.