The following photographs were all made on 9/11 and are described here in Nachtwey’s own words: ÒIn my mind it all went into slow motion. Everything was floating. I thought I had all the time in the world to make the picture, and only at the last moment realized I was about to be taken out.Ó
Patrick Witty, International Picture Editor of TIME;
former freelance photographer
„After the towers fell, I walked back to my apartment on the Lower East Side, completely in a daze. I had shot black and white film that morning and there was a small lab in the kitchen of my neighborÕs apartment where I could process and scan. When I walked inside, covered in dust and a ripped t-shirt, my neighbors were there and we looked at each other in silence, in disbelief. Another photographer was there who I didnÕt know, named David Surowiecki. At the time he was an editor at Getty Images, along with my old roommate Craig Allen. David and Craig were scanning film and transmitting the images from the apartment since GettyÕs offices had been evacuated. DavidÕs film from the morning was on a light table near the film dryer in the kitchen. I started looking at his film with a loupe and will never forget the feeling of despair when I saw this one particular image. It was a bizarre and terrifying, yet almost calm image, split down the middle with four tiny bodies falling to the ground. I saw bodies falling when I was near the burning towers, but I didnÕt shoot it myself. I couldnÕt.
Alex Webb, photographer
„My wife Rebecca’s and my first glimpse of lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 was from a rooftop in Brooklyn Heights. That’s where I tookÐÐprobably on my first roll of film that dayÑwhat I consider my one singular image from Sept. 11Ña mother and child with the smoldering ruins of the Twin Towers behind. It’s a picture, in retrospect, that seems to me to suggest something about how life goes on in the midst of tragedy. Perhaps it also raises questions about what kind of future world awaits the childÑand all of us. One reason this photograph continues to resonate with me is that the situation was different from violence that I’d witnessed in the past in places such as Haiti or Beirut. On September 11, 2001, not only was I photographing this particular mother and child in the city in which I lived, I was also aware ofÑout of the corner of my eyeÑanother woman, my wife, the poet and photographer Rebecca Norris Webb. About an hour earlier and a few miles away in our apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn, we were holding each other as we watched the second plane hit the second tower on our small TV. When I started to rush out the door with my cameras to head towards Manhattan, RebeccaÑa photographer who has had little experience photographing conflict or violenceÑsaid she wanted to go with me. I balked. Shouldn’t she stay in Brooklyn, away from the chaos of lower Manhattan? Perhaps I shouldn’t even goÑa startling notion for a photographer like myself who has covered situations of conflict in the past? And what might happen next to our city on that terrible morning? What if we were separated and unable to communicate during another wave of violence? Amid the chaos and the uncertainty, we chose to stay together and do one of the few things we know how to doÑrespond with a camera. Looking back ten years later, I’m not sure I would have seen this particular photographÑwith its note of tenderness and looming tragedyÑif Rebecca had not been with me.”
Aerial view of the Pentagon Building located in Washington, District of Columbia (DC), showing emergency crews responding to the destruction caused when a high-jacked commercial jetliner crashed into the southwest corner of the building, during the 9/11 terrorists attacks.
Elisabeth Biondi, former Visuals Editor of The New Yorker
„The picture Gilles Peress took for The New Yorker is indelibly burned into my mind. It was then after the devastating event and it is now, 10 years after. When I think of that day, I remember calling Gilles on his cell right after the first tower had been hit asking him to get to Ground Zero. Come to think of it, the word had not as yet been coined. His reply was that he was already on the bridge. The result was an extraordinary set of photographs which we published in our special issue with the famous black cover by Art Spiegelman. It came out on the Monday directly following the attack. Then and as now, I live in Tribeca near Ground Zero which meant my life had been changed for a long time. At the beginning, it reminded me of the stories my mother told me about World War II. All seemed to be a dark, foul smelling haze and I heard fire sirens day and night. I used to be able to see the towers from my roof. I felt their absence and I yearned to see what was left. I could not. It was sealed off on Guiliani’s orders. Gilles’ amazing pictures filled the void. They are still with me.”
Simon Barnett, Director of Photography of LIFE.com;
former Deputy Director of Photography of Newsweek
„In a manner of speaking, after the insanity and bedlam and brutality of 9/11, the morning that followed came as something of a surprise. You felt as is if the sun wouldn’t rise in the quite the same way. Jonathan Torgovnik made this photograph on Sept. 12. While it doesn’t have a soundtrack it is an incredibly quiet picture (although I’m sure the audible reality may well have been different). It forms a bridge between pre and post-9/11Ñan office that most of us can relate to, have visited, or worked inÐagainst a spectacularly lit backdrop of heinous devastation. 9/11 was the photographic event of all-time; so immense that it was tough to get grounded in, to take measure of, to begin to believe what had happened. This picture does that.”
Kira Pollack, Director of Photography of TIME;
former Associate Photo Editor of The New York Times Magazine
„On one of the days following the attack on the World Trade CenterÑI think it was the 13thÑI walked uptown from my home in the West Village to MagnumÕs offices on 25th street to look at Steve McCurryÕs work, which I viewed on a light table. I was looking through the loupe and the pictures he had made were truly haunting. There was a picture of an escalator covered with papers and debris. It looked like the kind of apocalyptic ruin that would have happened over decades or centuries but it had happened in a single morning. You could feel the emptiness where the people were supposed to be. I viewed McCurryÕs chromes on a light box. ItÕs amazing, looking back on it now, that none of the photographers we worked with were shooting digital. It was all film and that meant that it had to be transported by people from point to point at a time when most transportation was either restricted or shut down. I hand-carried a selection of chromes up to the offices at The New York Times and it was one of the pictures in the mix for several days being discussed by then editor Adam Moss, photo director Kathy Ryan, deputy photo editor Jody Quon and then art director Janet Froelich. The image was published in The New York Times Magazine in its 9/11 issue.”
David Handschuh, staff photographer, New York Daily News
„The funeral for World Trade Center victim 001, Father Mychal Judge, was the first public mourning for a victim of 9/11. A good man, a religious man, and probably a symbol for the loss of that horrible day, his funeral brought former President Bill and first lady Hillary Clinton, hundreds of uniformed rescuers, tearful civilians and New York Daily News photographer Linda Rosier to the small midtown Manhattan church where ÒFather MikeÓ tended to his diverse flock. As his casket was removed from the chapel, Rosier spotted the woeful firefighter in the crowd. His gloved right hand in a final salute, you can feel the firefighters cheek quivering as he tries to keep tears from rolling down his face. For me, this image singularly sums up the hurt of a rescuer, a city, a country and the weight that the world felt, knowing how much had changed, in just a few minutes on a beautiful end of summer morning.”
(L-R) US President Barack Obama, former US President George W. Bush and US First Lady Michelle Obama and visit the 9/11 memorial on September 11, 2011 in New York on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The „Tribute in Light” memorial is in remembrance of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The two towers of light are composed of two banks of high wattage spotlights that point straight up from a lot next to Ground Zero. This photo was taken from Liberty State Park, N.J., Sept. 11, the five-year anniversary of 9/11. (U.S. Air Force photo/Denise Gould)
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