Friday, September 11, 2009

Visual Overload

I remember. I was there standing on the Brooklyn promenade watching in horror. I awoke that morning to my windows rattling from the explosion as the first plane hit the tower. I stood watching the television screen as the second plane collided with the second tower and again heard my windows vibrate. I was working at Time Magazine during this period and thought of racing to work but soon realized the subways would be shut down. I grabbed my camera and two rolls of film and headed on foot from Carroll Gardens to Brooklyn Heights to do the only thing I could do, to be a witness.

I can still remember screaming and the sound of screams and cries all around me as myself and hundreds of others watched helpless from across the river as the first tower fell. Debris and smoke blew across the river and into Brooklyn forcing us all to evacuate the area. I went to the nearest hospital to wait for victims and to help in anyway I could. No one came. I hitched a ride in an ambulance with several reporters down to ground zero. We were kept a few streets back due to the smoke and damage caused to surrounding buildings. After spending who knows how long pacing the streets of Tribeca and feeling again helpless I started on foot back home–up the island to the Brooklyn Bridge and over in to Carroll Gardens. I have no idea how long it took to get home nor when I was finally able to get through to my family and tell them I was alright.

I have so many stories from the days that followed and the photographs I encountered while at the magazine. Most never released to the public. However, I felt compelled to look, to understand, to feel and to let these photographs imprint themselves on me.

I do not need to see footage of burning towers to remind me what day it is. Can we not show something more uplifting? Although I left New York two years ago, the emotions of that day are very much on the surface.