But, as with Rose’s book about the changing landscape of the Meatpacking District, most who page through WTC will contemplate Manhattan’s relentless transformation since a turbulent and mythologized 1970s. Change has come through economic shifts, public policy decisions, and tragedy. Rose’s work provides a clear, visual understanding of what the city has lost and gained through it all.
Brian Rose knows New York backwards and forwards. And past and present. In the past several years, Rose has published two well received books featuring his photographs of New York City then and now. In 2012’s Time and Space on the Lower East Side, 1980 + 2010, he showed the neighborhood during its years as a grungy breeding ground for artists and musicians.
In a recent correspondence, a friend writes:
Photographs -- the millions of details - the mayhem of shape and color -- the graph/grid that seems to be an underlay of every city scape picture you take. Like an Agnes Martin drawing -- or a simple road map of the Jeffersonian grid -- it is either your photo’s structure/foundation from which it is built on, or it may be its ghost -- and that’s part of this story.
Sean Corcoran, photo curator at the Museum of the City of New York:
Looking through his archive recently, he realized he had created something very profound and personal that he needed to assemble and share,” Corcoran writes. “Serving as a form of personal catharsis, Rose’s words and pictures reflect on the nature of tragedy, remembrance and resilience. He never obtained special access to photograph from particular vantage points, but rather he stood amongst New Yorkers and captured views from the sidewalks they tread every day.
WTC Photographs by Brian Rose
Foreword by Sean Corcoran
The World Trade Center was still new when I arrived in New York in the summer of 1977. Just three years before, Philippe Petit had made his famous high wire walk between the partially completed Twin Towers. I was a student then, and I made photographs all over lower Manhattan – many that included the Twin Towers.
In 1980 I photographed the Lower East Side of New York with the World Trade Center standing off in the distance, an imperious symbol of wealth and power. And a few years later, I received a grant to photograph the financial district, and the Twin Towers were a constant presence overshadowing the already lofty spires of Manhattan.
The Twin Towers were the perfect backdrop buildings, aloof from the passions below. And from afar they often appeared slightly out of focus, to be dematerializing into the sky, an optical effect caused by the steel pinstripes of the towers’ skin.
Those who masterminded the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11 understood the potency of the Twin Towers as image and symbol. And they knew that striking at that image would unleash forces not easily returned to station.
Kickstarter video about the making of WTC
Campaign successfully closed May 2016
I began collecting images of the Twin Towers as I moved around the city with my camera -- murals, posters, and memorials. I also decide to make periodic trips downtown – to what was still called ground zero – to document the rebuilding of the site and follow the rise of One World Trade Center, the skyscraper designed to replace the Twin Towers on the skyline.
None of this photography, from 1977 to the present was ever intended as a unified chronicle or portrait of place. It all happened in an ad hoc way, one thing, and then another. But a few years ago, much to my surprise, I realized that I had a book. I could tell the epic story of the World Trade Center through the pictures I had accumulated over the years. WTC is a book about the Twin Towers, their presence and absence, and the rebuilding of the city after September 11.
It is also a tribute to New Yorkers and all who carry a piece of this great city with them. It is a book that commemorates rather than exploits, a book that preserves memories, both painful and hopeful, and celebrates, however cautiously, the resilience of this city in the face of adversity.
- Brian Rose
Available for pre-order
Expected delivery mid-September
Hardbound $65 Signed
Limited Edition $250 Slipcover with 8x10 print,
signed and numbered edition of 100