Skip to comments.America Under Attack - Photographs: An Inside View
Posted on 09/17/2001 9:49:52 AM PDT by ppaul
Like most, I sat stunned watching the screen on Tuesday 11th, as the terrible events unfolded in front of us. It took some time to appreciate the full horror. Two things that brought it home to me most strongly were the interviews with the survivors and the still photographs that began to come out. Seeing the videos and TV footage was highly dramatic but somehow unreal.
The first news of the attack came from a colleague, a New Yorker who was visibly shaken, although she had fortunately been able to make immediate contact with her family who were safe. I'm fortunate that no one close to me was there, although over the coming weeks I'm sure we will all find that former colleagues or friends and some in my address book died. I paused in preparing this article as the whole of the UK observed three minutes of silence, mourning the dead today along with the rest of Europe and America, then listened to the service from St Paul's Cathedral in London.
Many others - not least elsewhere on 'About.com' - have written about this outrage, and I'm not going to repeat what they have already said. This attack was not just an attack on America, but an attack on democracy and on humanity itself. We are now living in a different world and have to think and do some things differently to avoid anything like this happening again.
This feature looks at the photographic coverage of the events and their aftermath, but in doing so it is impossible not to give some of my personal reactions. There were times when I had to turn away from the screen and stop looking. Some of the most harrowing scenes in the photographs were the pictures of those trapped in the upper floors with no hope of rescue.
Some jumped to certain death rather than wait to be choked by smoke or crushed as the building collapsed - and were caught in mid-air by the cameras. It is hard to look at the pictures of the trapped people or those in mid-air, and I wonder what my reactions would have been as a photographer. On the one hand it is important to record such events; on the other I would have wanted to simply bow my head and pray.
From some of the accounts of survivors we learn that many of those who did escape with their lives did so only because they ignored the announcements that they were safe and could return to their workstations. It took some people on the higher floors around an hour to come down on the stairs. Perhaps we have to ask whether there is any way that such tall buildings can ever be made safe places in emergencies - and if this should not place a limit on building heights. The pictures from this terrible day should certainly make us think again.
You can get some insight into what it was like from a remarkable set of pictures taken by a so far anonymous worker in the World Trade Centre (WTC), apparently using a web-cam on a notebook computer, and posted to the web. The pictures start with some touristic views of New York before the event, but then comes chaos. Often blurred, sometimes totally unreadable, the frames show workers going down the stairs to escape and firemen rushing up to deal with the emergency. Finally we get some pictures in the entrance lobby, then, obviously some time later, pictures of the smoke and scenes on the streets.
The web site is very busy, badly written and confused. As well as the web cam images it includes in some of the same sets pictures taken from elsewhere on the web - presumably without permission. Some are from TV, some from some of the web sites listed at the end of this feature. Many other pictures on the site - like the web-cam ones from the WTC - are obviously the work of amateurs, perhaps copied from postings elsewhere on the web. There are perhaps 900 pictures in all and I've not managed to see them all, as the feed from this site is overloaded.
The pictures from inside the WTC give an insight into the experience of the people inside the building that is missing from the professional coverage. Thursday's evening paper here - and some of the Friday morning titles - front-paged an amateur photograph of a fireman in the WTC lobby, again with an immediacy that informs us directly.
May God have mercy on our nation.
May God grant President Bush wisdom for the days ahead.
Good for you. Too bad others won't. This post was pulled of "Breaking."
Oh well. More interesting stuff than this, I suppose.
I looked on the front page of today's NY Post, where they list the names of all 403 NYC uniformed heroes that are dead or missing. I came across only on Byrne:
I wish I knew of a way to contact his family. They would probably be proud to have a picture of him in his final astonishingly brave moments.
Been taking an unbelievable number of hits. 111K in the last 3-4 days.
Bless us all
I wish I knew of a way to contact his family. They would probably be proud to have a picture of him in his final astonishingly brave moments
The folks at the following snailmail address will likely assist you; they worked with him:
Ladder Co 101, Battalion 32
Attn: Station Chief
31 Richards St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231-1602
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