• As noted below, this is a film scan with a few resultant artifacts, scratches, etc. left unprocessed.
  • If you have the time, please do view this one on black. The framing is much sounder.
  • I like to imagine this is taken looking down, rather than up.

Hereafter (World Trade Center), NYC [Film Scan]

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One of my first SLR shots, taken in NYC a decade ago. The visit was a 21st Birthday celebration, alongside the gift of the camera itself. This is another scan of an original film image, EXIF data added, but no edits to the noise, scratches, etc. The trip was my compelling first connection to NYC; a city I got to return to a lot whilst studying more recently upstate. It was marked by the drifting mist and cloud in evidence in this view, which, neither undermined my engagement with the city itself nor, especially looking at this image in the years since 911, detracts from the impression it creates.

I would suggest viewing on black, despite the grain.

[From here on, I'm afraid things become a little reflective and over-wrought. It's not intended to offend, and no offence would be taken if you choose to skip it entirely.]

Having worked and studied overseas and in upstate NY, I've obviously made friends with a lot of people with far more intimate and emotional connections to 911 than I have myself. Not wanting to intrude upon or distract those far more powerful accounts, I still thought I might briefly commit some of my rememberings to this posting by way of commemoration and perspective.

On the day itself, we were living in Chipas, Mexico. In terms of timezones, this meant as we awoke the first tower was already on the news. Events unfolded as an American friend and I prepared for a morning volunteering (as English teachers) at the local orphanage. We had to leave for our teaching during the collapse. At the orphanage the kids would ask questions to get to know us, natural to them given their context, but strange to us, like; "Do you have a father/mother?" My friend's father was flying that morning, and he had been unable to contact him before we left, which gave a surreal, uneasy, yet somewhat epiphanic, edge to the morning.

Meanwhile, the close friend of another teacher in our group, was working in an upper level of the second tower. She had been unable to contact her. Understandably perhaps, to avoid panic and potential injury, after the first impact, she later found out that those working in the second had been told to remain at their desks. Her friend left her desk regardless, and, though she was still inside the tower when the second aircraft hit, she was now below the impact zone and thereby survived.

In terms of commemoration, I'd like to suggest, timidly, that one of the greatest tragedies of the day is not the tragedy of opposition - the battle between A vs B, whatever you label A or B, whichever side you take. Given subsequent conflict, right or wrong, that is how this event is often framed by the media. Rather I see it as a tragedy of those who have a side, and those who don't even know there was a battle. However the perpetrators are cast - be in political, religious, non-US extremist or US conspirator - clearly their paradigm was built on an underlying assumption of a conflict, which the victims were unaware of. If we disagree and together decide to fight one another, that is one thing. If we disagree, and I accept or am unaware of our differing thoughts, and yet you strike me down regardless, that is another, to my mind, greater tragedy.

I do hope these notes don't trivialise the event or offend anyone. It's just a record of a couple of stories and the musings that flowed from them. It's not meant as anything more. One thing my scanning of these old film prints has reminded me of is the power of a photograph to commemorate meaning over time. Flickr is chiefly a celebration of the present; of the frenetic energy of now and today. Perhaps one aspect of photography it overlooks is the longer term view. It's the difference between seeing the noise of everything, and stripping that noise away to leave the transcendent moment alone. Both interesting angles, but the latter inevitably absent from this medium, perhaps.

So that's probably quite enough introspection and philosophical declamation for the next few months. I hope you're all very well and have survived my ramble if you were generous enough to follow it. Have a superb week all.

View 20 more comments

  1. <3 Cassandra Mae <3 48 months ago | reply

    I sure do miss those 2 beauties on the New York skyline. Its not the same without them. Beautiful shot of the twins.

  2. Calichusetts 47 months ago | reply

    fantastic...love your stream!

  3. freeedomania 45 months ago | reply

    amazing picture, profound perspective (both in photo and in words)

  4. The Indestructible Enforcer 45 months ago | reply

    Those towers were so TALL! I think this photo really captures their essence, Instant Fav.

  5. 19 11 44 months ago | reply

    LOVE this

  6. t1nytr0n 43 months ago | reply

    Absolutely stunning. Awesome feeling of infinite height !!!!

  7. cottrilla [deleted] 43 months ago | reply

    One of my favourite photos I have ever seen, and I don't say that about a lot of photos!

  8. George.m. 43 months ago | reply

    Wow! this shot is a masterpiece!
    great angle and composition!

  9. Robert Sarkozi 43 months ago | reply

    Simply amazing.

  10. SoulRider.222 42 months ago | reply

    My words can hardly express the loss of lives due to this appalling tragedy. Let's have a moment of silence, for the fallen, with this great capture.........................................Thank you.

  11. nj dodge 42 months ago | reply

    Fabulous composition.

  12. Paul Ebbo 42 months ago | reply

    beautiful capture

  13. brendoncardinal 38 months ago | reply

    Amazing shot! It's really made me rethink 9/11, and not that I thought anything wrong about it, but it made me realize how much we really lost, and then gained, out of it. We lost thousands of lives, thousands of families destroyed, a city that will never be the same, but we gained a new perspective on how much work we need to do to make the world a safer place, and a new perspective on how much we, as a nation, appreciate the work our police forces and firefighting forces do to make the world a safer place.

  14. Sam ♑ 32 months ago | reply

    INVITATION Black & White Master Photos

  15. --Rahu-- 25 months ago | reply

    Very, Very beautiful:)

  16. B M | Photography 13 months ago | reply

    Beautiful photo. Miss those towers and god rest every soul lost that day

  17. Simon-G 5 months ago | reply

    Great photo and very well taken, It made me shiver and feel very emotional not that I live anywhere near the USA but if there is one thing that most of the world is united in is the grief of 9/11, This photo shows the scale of those buildings amazing.

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