Photographer Brian Rose has been capturing New York City for decades since he arrived in 1977 as a Copper Union student. In photographs he’s shared with us, he tracked the World Trade Center site since 1977 and contrasted the Meatpacking District between the 1980s and now. His latest project, Atlantic City, is a departure from his normal urban subjects, but still utilizes his critical, observational eye to reveal, in this case, the dystopian landscape of fantasy architecture and socioeconomic decay that characterize the city today, long after its origins as a seaside playground.
Atlantic City will become a book, to be published by CIRCA Books, a publisher focused on architecture and culture, with an introduction by architectural critic Paul Goldberger. Rose has started a Kickstarter campaign to finish funding for the book, and those that pledge will receive a signed copy of Atlantic City, or one of the other awards offered.
Though the project was initially inspired by the 2016 election, with a hunch that the ravages of Atlantic City “would serve as a metaphor for the overall state of affairs in the United States,” Rose says that he zoomed out, moving beyond the Trump narrative, to focus on the devastated neighborhoods next to the casino “behemoths.” The stark contrast clearly shows the long term urban planning failure that began in the 1970s, as “city leaders and urban planners were lured by the promise of casino gambling to save the city and restore its lost glamor. And it worked – for a while,” Rose writes. While an architectural photographer, he has included photos of the people living in Atlantic City to show the unrest that the environment has fostered within its community.
Here are some additional photographs from the series:
Next, read about Fred Trump’s demolition of Steeplechase in Coney Island.