WTC (pre-9/11)
The visual power of the pre-9/11 World Trade Center derived in part from its utter simplicity of form, its sheer size and its mirror-image structures. But that was not all. The visual power of the Twin Towers was contextual. The downtown skyline is surrounded by broad expanses of water on three sides. The World Trade Center was necessarily the biggest palm tree in the desert mirage, the most beguiling structure in the Emerald City, a lighthouse towering above its watery surroundings.

In my photography throughout the 1980s and 90s, I tried to tap into this "contextual" power. Most of my photos of the World Trade Center include, as foreground subjects, waterways, roads, bridges, highways, factories, train lines, office buildings, apartments, modest homes, mansions and so on. It is the World Trade Center in context that never ceased to interest me and to enthrall me as a photographer.

If all this were not enough, the World Trade Center possessed one other visual feature that was especially noteworthy: the buildings’ ability to reflect the light of the setting sun on an unparalleled scale. Over the years, I tracked down a few choice locations of the New Jersey Meadowlands in which it was possible, at sunset, to view the Twin Towers bathed in an intense amber light. This extraordinary sight persisted for only a few minutes and, on particular days, was not present at all because of clouds or smog. Getting to the right location at the proper time under optimal atmospheric conditions was not unlike tracking the narrow path of a solar eclipse. The act of photography was a moment of exhilaration, and the resulting photograph is a record of it.


The tragedy of 9/11 hit me hard, but -- fortunately -- not in a direct or personal way involving family or friends. Like everyone else, I experienced a general sense of loss. In addition, I also -- as a photographer -- experienced a peculiar sense of loss that derived from the loss of a favorite photographic subject. Of course, this was a minor loss in the general scheme of things, but it was -- nevertheless -- quite tangible. I am hopeful that these photos convey a sense of that peculiar loss.

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