About this project
See the book prototype here.
Millions of Americans trace their roots to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was once home to one the largest Jewish communities in the world, and it has been an entry point for numerous other ethnic groups over the years—Europeans first, and more recently Latinos and Asians. Today, the neighborhood is a magnet for a new cadre of young strivers, this time with more money to spend. This change has come rapidly, and not without some trauma, to the people and to the architectural fabric of these historic streets.
THE PROJECTIn 1980, after graduating from art school, I photographed the neighborhood in a unique collaboration with fellow photographer Ed Fausty. The Lower East Side was at its darkest, but most creative moment. While buildings crumbled and burned, artists and musicians came to explore and express the edgy quality of the place. Recently, I have returned to the streets of lower Manhattan—working alone this time—to re-explore the neighborhood.
East 5th Street, 1980 (Brian Rose/Ed Fausty)
The images from 1980 were made in the relatively early days of color art photography. Ed and I sought to bring view camera color, and a modern perspective, to a subject largely defined in the past by gritty black and white images. After the project was completed and exhibited in 1981, it remained unseen in my archive. I went on to other projects, and lived overseas for 12 years in Amsterdam.
Orchard Street, 1980 (Brian Rose/Ed Fausty)
THE PROJECT CONTINUES
After the events of September 11th, I was drawn again to New York as a subject for my camera. I began thinking about making a response to what had happened to the city, one that would take a longer view of the impact on New York and beyond. Eventually I came to the conclusion I should return to where I had begun--the Lower East Side--the place where so many Americans got their start. The old neighborhood tucked beneath the bridges lying at the feet of the pinnacles of power would serve as a barometer of change and continuity.
East 9th Street, 2010 (Brian Rose)
TIME AND SPACE
From the outset it was clear that this would not be a simple before/after take on the neighborhood. While keeping an eye on the earlier photographs done in 1980, I wanted to rediscover the place with fresh eyes, with the perspective of time, change, and history. The result is a collection of photographs that looks backwards and forwards, that posits the idea that places are not simply “then and now,” but exist in a continuum of decay and rebirth.
I am working with an independent publisher to make Time and Space on the Lower East Side available in stores and online. Photography books are expensive to produce, and our resources are scarce. This is a unique project about one of America's most important and historic neighborhoods. You can be a part of that history by supporting this book.
Essex Street, 2010 (Brian Rose)
See the book prototype here.
The new book will follow the basic sequence of photographs of the original, but with a tighter edit. The printing quality will be superior with heavier paper, and the design is being reworked by a graphic designer. There will be an introduction by singer songwriter Suzanne Vega. She and I met when I began doing the Lower East Side project in 1980.
Golden Section Publishing, a new independent publisher headed by photographer and book collector Bill Diodato. Bill has produced his own book, Care of Ward 81, which followed in the footsteps of Mary Ellen Mark, who had photographed the women of Ward 81 at the Oregon State Mental Hospital. The ward was eventually emptied, and Bill photographed the abandoned interiors, which were also used in the filming of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.
We are planning to complete production of the book this year, and hope to have it in stores and available online in early 2012.
Support this project
- (45 days)