We’ve done more than a handful of interviews with photographers about the tragic day that changed the lives of almost everyone around the world. In no particular order, here are five that showcase haunting images and stories from 9/11.
Poignant Tales of 9/11
Each of these photographers has a story to tell of how they happened to take photos on September 11, 2001. Some of these were images that defined the horrendous tragedy. Many of these photos went around the world hundreds of times over the next few days and weeks. But all of them are sure to make you recall where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news of 9/11.
Photojournalist Ira Block wasn’t on assignment that day. All the images he shot of the events unfolding were for himself. During a breakfast meetup with photographer David Allen that morning, they caught a glimpse of the news on TV at the restaurant. They headed down 7th Ave with their cameras and took many photos of the scenes there as the shock slowly sank in. Read more about it here.
David Forrest loaded his camera with film and headed towards Ground Zero once he confirmed the news he was hearing. He kept his composure to document as much as he possibly could after the clouds of debris settled. Read his interview with us here.
Shortly after photographing one of the images that defined the 9/11 tragedy, photojournalist David Handschuh almost died after an I-beam fell on him. He told us how he wishes he never had to take that photo and why photojournalism is so important in his interview with us.
I wish it had never happened, and I wish I had never captured that moment. But it did happen, and I think it’s important to share that moment with other people around the world.David Handschuh
For two hours, Phil Penman continued to take photos, not entirely realizing how dangerous the situation was at the time. He credits the firemen around him that day with saving him from severe health problems. Traumatic as it was for everyone that day, Phil finds that going through the images and talking about the day helps him. And he credits New Yorkers for being amazingly resilient people. Read our interview with him here.
On September 11, 2001, the Time Life Photo Lab kept themselves open 24/7 to be available to process the large volume of images from photographers that were coming in. Lab technician Ronald Herard was one of the staff working tirelessly that day. Ron personally processed many of the 9/11 photos you’ve probably seen many times before. He has a massive collection of hard copies of those images printed by various publications. The personal stories he heard from photographers who walked into the lab on 9/11 can be read here.
Lead photograph by Phil Penman. All images used with permission