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Photographer Ilan Rubin | via Ilan Rubin Studio

As part of our series about Whale Square, a former industrial building turned office space in Sunset Park, we sat down with one of the building’s creative tenants, photographer Ilan Rubin. The Israeli native moved to New York City in 1985 and began building his commercial photography business a few years later in Chelsea. Since getting his big break shooting for Harper’s Bazaar in 1995, he’s worked with a multitude of major brands and magazines, including Cole Haan, Target, T Magazine, Vogue and Barney’s. Here, he remembers his beginnings in photography and compares his longtime studio in Chelsea to his newer studio at Whale Square in Sunset Park.

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The former Whale Oil Company headquarters at 14 53rd Street on the Sunset Park waterfront has gotten a new lease on life as office space for creative and tech businesses. The 1940s-era industrial building, Whale Square, offers 400,000 square feet of space spread across seven stories. The first floor has 20-foot ceilings, and the third floor has 50,000 square feet of column-free space, making the building ideal for an open office or workplace. The owners are finishing a $5 million renovation that will transform the building into a hub for creative, tech or fashion companies.