Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hat Trick

I bought a few Blurb books last week including Time and Space on the Lower East Side by Brian Rose. It's pretty rare for a photo book to feature the full package: Great photos and eloquent writing, and of historical/documentary interest. Usually one or two out of three will suffice. But 3 for 3? Uncommon. Anyway, there are many great pics but this is the one that stopped me in my tracks when I first came upon it (sorry for the sloppy half-tone scan):

Division Street, 2010, Brian Rose

What a shot! Everything layered and lined up just right, the weird textured chainlink and confusing tritone lamp, cars and buildings jutting at weird angles, and that little red hat balanced right where the center cannot hold. And best of all, it's a photo of absolutely nothing! It's everyday material. Ninety-nine out of a hundred photographers would walk right by. Not only did Rose stop but he found the one exact spot from which the shot comes together. One inch in any direction would put it out of whack. Who knows, maybe one second in any direction would do the same.

And, oh yeah, almost as an afterthought, it documents The Lower East Side. Two birds, one stone. The photography stone. Reminds me of something Papageorge wrote in Aperture 85, "What is interesting about photographers is the nature of the balance they create: the place where they draw that line between their own presence and the mindless memory of their cameras."

On that continuum, Rose is somewhere between Shore and Friedlander. Three of a perfect pair.


pdrolopz said...

I had been the photographer 99 of 100, thanks for putting on my glasses, now, I can see this photo

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that. Some great work on his site. That is a killer shot! Nice to be talked through why you think so as well. Wish I could afford the book ;-(