​​​​Dr. Emil Chynn Will Never Forget Being at Ground Zero on 9/11

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“That day, I encountered literally thousands of people screaming and running past me in the opposite direction,” Dr. Emil Chynn remembers of September 11th, 2001. Two hijacked passenger planes had just been used in a coordinated terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, hitting the North Tower at 8:46 at the South Tower at 9:03. “Actually, I was the only person going downtown,” Dr. Chynn says. “I tried to flag a yellow cab to take me downtown, but nobody would stop. Finally, I got a cabbie to stop, but he said, ‘What are you, nuts? If you paid me a million dollars, I wouldn’t take you there!’”

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George Forss Made Magical Photos of the Towers Before 9/11

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“George took this picture in 1998,” Phyllis Wrynn, the longtime friend and gallerist of George Forss who passed away last month at age of 80, remembers. At the time, he was standing in the offices of Woolworth Building, with a clear view of the Twin Towers. “The first time I saw it, I loved it because I had never seen the Towers from that vantage point before,” Wrynn explains. “They were so enormous, but this image makes them human scale. I can imagine building a Lego version of the Towers…and that it would look as they do in this image.” 

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David Handschuh Shot One of the Most Iconic Photos of 9/11

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“I wish it had never happened, and I wish I had never captured that moment.”, says photojournalist David Handschuh of the fateful moment when the second airliner flew into the South Tower on 9/11. His instincts told him to keep on shooting even after that, and he continued to do so until an I-beam fell on him. He didn’t think he’d get out alive, but he was one of the fortunate survivors from that day. He tells us what that harrowing experience was like and why photojournalism is necessary to keep the truth alive.

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These Photographers Share Important Stories Around 9/11

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Twenty years later, my biggest fear is that major stores and corporations will turn 9/11 into a giant holiday. People will use it as an excuse to get out of work. They’ll turn it into three-day weekends. They’ll BBQ. They’ll drink. It’ll become associated with debauchery. We Americans already do it with Memorial Day. Truly, how many people actually take the time to remember the fallen soldiers? The sad likelihood that consumerism may overtake what should be a national day of mourning is heartbreaking. And looking at photos of the events doesn’t really get any easier.

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7 YouTube Videos Highlighting the Role of Photography on 9/11

Photography has played a crucial role in helping people remember and learn about 9/11.

Another year has passed us by, but memories and feelings remain the same. The September 11 attacks are still the most impactful, talked about, and polarizing event in modern history. The role of photography on that day allowed people to see the pain felt by millions of people in New York and around the world. Some images have, unfortunately, become iconic. And they serve to help us remember, while teaching younger generations of the heartbreak felt by the western world. In this piece, we’re going to combine photography with video, as we turn to YouTube to remind ourselves of the importance of photography almost 20 years ago.

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Nat Geo Photographer Ira Block on Processing His Home City After 9/11

National Geographic Photographer Ira Block has worked to ensure that we truly never forget 9/11.

“They weren’t panicking,” related photographer Ira Block as we sat in his NYC loft and examined images from 9/11. “They were instead trying to figure out what was going on.” The image Ira is referring to is one very typical of New York. We were all in plenty of shock on 9/11. Everyone was in a state of confusion throughout the day. Said photo, which is the lead image of this story, was shot by Ira while walking down 7th Ave. The photos Ira took were for himself. Though a National Geographic photographer, Ira isn’t a news photojournalist–but he started out as one. To that end, he wasn’t on an assignment that day and the images he shot were just for him.

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Exploring Why Photographers Did or Didn’t Pick Up a Camera on 9/11

What made some of our community members pick up a camera, while others chose to leave the gear at home and take in the traumatic experience of 9/11?

We all face the dilemma of photographing the moment vs. being ‘in’ the moment. Inarguably, our view behind the lens can be completely different than the view absent of one. We encounter it regularly when it’s a beautiful sunset, moments with friends, cute episodes with my cats, etc. These moments are superfluous and trivial in comparison to the gravity that is the traumatic experience of experiencing 9/11 firsthand. With that said, the question remains – do I want to document what I’m seeing, or experience what I’m seeing? To explore this concept, while also giving appropriate reverence to the anniversary we’re coming upon, we interviewed two wonderful photographers who lived in the city and were present the day of the attacks. Ron Jautz chose to leave his camera at home, while Thomas Donley grabbed his gear and ran out the door. While one chose to make photographs and the other chose to experience the moment, their answers reflect many similar sentiments. Continue reading…

Steve Simon’s Empty Sky Explores the Immediate Post-9/11 NYC

All images by Steve Simon. Used with permission.

“And I wasn’t there, and I selfishly kind of wanted to be there,” states photojournalist Steve Simon when recalling what transpired on 9/11. “Not just as a photographer, but just as a New Yorker to kind of sort of see if there was anything I could do.” It seems almost inconceivable that the attack on the Twin Towers occurred 18 years ago. Many of us still remember everything that happened on that fateful Tuesday morning as vividly as if it had just transpired. When we look back on the World Trade Center attack we tend to see a lot of images of Ground Zero along with the Twin Towers. If you were to look for images of the periphery and of the people drawn towards the area, there’s a good chance the photos were captured by Simon. As fate would have it, Steve was scheduled to fly back to New York on September 11th and wound up not being able to return until a week later. His project, titled Empty Sky: The Pilgrimage to Ground Zero, is part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s permanent collection. It focuses on the people looking toward and drawn to where the Twin Towers once stood, and the sweeping emotions surrounding lower Manhattan.

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A $35,600 Kodak Camera and Others That Tell the Story of 9/11

cameras of 9/11

In the grand scheme of things, the cameras of 9/11 aren’t important. But without them, photographers would not have been able to document this horrific moment in world history.

The terrible events that unfolded in New York City on September 11th, 2001 sent shock waves around the globe. The unthinkable had happened, and terror was brought to our doorstep. New York City streets were filled with citizens fleeing the chaos unfolding around them. There were a few photographers who were in the area that made it their mission to document the scenes. The photographers and the cameras of 9/11 captured the terror, chaos, and heroism of New York City on that fateful morning. Without them, the pictorial history of 9/11 would not be as complete as it is today. The events in New York City on Septemeber 11th will never be forgotten thanks in part to the cameras of 9/11 and the scenes they recorded. The world became a much darker place that day and life as we knew it changed forever. The photographers, along with millions of other NYC residents, started out their day just like any other. Little did they know that their day would become one they would never forget.

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Two hours on 9/11: An interview with Phil Penman

“I’m a mess whenever I think about 9/11 for too long. I know that my brain will never truly comprehend what I saw that day.”

For most people who were unfortunate enough to find themselves amongst the terrible event on 9/11, their first action would have been to get away as quickly as possible. However, photographers are not most people.

Phil Penman, a photojournalist based in New York, was at home when he first received a call to inform him a plane had hit the World Trade Center. He has kindly taken the time to talk to us and revisit what happened during the following two hours on that tragic day on September 11th, 2001.

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Ronald Herard: 9/11 Through the Eyes of a Photo Lab Technician

This photographer walks in, drops off his pictures and stands off to the side. I asked him “Are you okay?” He says he was standing there with the camera in hand and all of a sudden him and the firemen hear these sounds. THUNK! THUNK! He didn’t know what it was. When he turned around, he found out it was people hitting the ground and jumping out of the World Trade Center. He says to me “I couldn’t lift my camera.” He was covered in ash, and tears were coming down his eyes. They were flesh colored where the tears were streaming down and cutting through the ashes. That photographer cleaned himself up in the bathroom and he went back out there.

During 9/11, Ronald Herard was one of the people running the Time Life Photo Lab in NYC. He got into the art form through graphic design only to shuffle around while working in studios, retail stores, and then photo labs. Today, he’s both a member of Kamoinge and a camera salesperson at Foto Care in NYC; but on 9/11 he was a photo lab tech working the counter–and so he’s seen the work of so many photographers who shot during that day. We sat down in a pizzeria around the Flatiron neighborhood (as us New Yorkers do) where I mostly listened to Ron relate the experience of how he got into photography and how those experiences lead to him being in the lab. On September 11th 2001, photographers of all types poured in as the Time Life Photo Lab made themselves open 24/7 for a period of time.

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David Forrest: Documenting How 9/11 Affected The Brooklyn Waterfront

All images by ​​David Forrest. Used with permission.

If you were to think about all the things that happened during 9/11, you’d surely consider that there were probably photographers who wanted to get closer to the tragedy to document it but simply couldn’t–and that was the situation for David Forrest. When the planes crashed into the towers, police prevented people from getting into Manhattan from the other boroughs. But the towers are so large that they’re easily visible from every borough no matter where you are pretty much. So when the smoke and embers came over the city, it travelled quite far and was very visible. And while a lot was happening in Manhattan, the ash traveled to the other boroughs.

David’s story is one that is unlike many others–because while many stories concentrate on what happened in Manhattan, not many people talk about how Brooklyn was affected.

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Michel Leroy: A Photojournalist’s Perspective of 9/11 While Not on Assignment

All images shot during 9/11 by Michel Leroy. Used with permission. Contact Sheets created by the Phoblographer with permission.

When you look at the modern portfolio of Photographer Michel Leroy, you wouldn’t at all believe that 9/11 was a time that touched him personally. But not only was photography bred into Michel since high school, but so was journalism. On September 11th 2001, the World Trade Center fell here in NYC as the world and many New Yorkers looked on in horror. For this year’s remembrance, we wanted to interview a number of photographers who were around and on the scene during that time. Many of them have never looked back at their archives, and with Michel the experience was one that he felt really changed him. But as many photojournalists will tell you, the camera can be a shield of some sort from your own emotions.

Before you go on, I want to warn everyone that this post contains images that may shock or cause a stir amongst some readers. I personally saw the second plane hit the towers, and both putting this story together and looking through Michel’s images certainly was difficult to do.

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Contact Sheets Reveal the Story of a 9/11 Recovery Worker

All images by Jennifer Judkins. Used with permission.

Earlier this year, we interviewed photographer Jennifer Judkins who photographed her father in his last days. But Jennifer’s father had a special story: he was one of the people tasked with cleanup around the World Trade Center after 9/11. If you’ve followed the stories of some of the first responders and those who helped clear the debris, you’ve probably heard a lot about some of the conditions and ailments that they’ve come down with. To get the message out about all that happened, Jennifer photographed her father in his ailing condition up until his passing.

The project was done on film; and so to create the project, Jennifer needed to go through her contact sheets. This process was one that she had help with from friends and colleagues.

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Jennifer Judkins: The Heartbreaking Story of a Father’s Decline After 9/11

All images by Jennifer Judkins. Used with permission.

Editor’s Note: an earlier title suggested that Jennifer’s father died to cancer. It was instead a multitude of things. We apologize for this error.

“…I always knew that what I was shooting was not for me. It was for others.” says photographer Jennifer Judkins about a documentary photography project she completed about her father’s passing. “So I looked at everything objectively. When someone would say oh, your dad looks sick here, I’d think, well look past that.” You see, Jennifer’s father isn’t just any passing–he was one of the workers that helped to clear debris from the World Trade Center after 9/11.

Jennifer calls Brooklyn, NY home right now, but is originally from Massachusetts. She was educated in Rhode Island and took this series up in 2007 as her college thesis project. For Jennifer, taking pictures was the easiest way to hide her own sorrow towards her late father’s life. “I’m incredibly glad I made the decision to document him because I think it is a great visual to put with the fight for rights and benefits for recovery workers and first responders.”

For anyone that’s photographed a very touching project, you’ll probably know just how rough it can be.

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Joel Meyerowitz and Steve McCurry Talk About Their 9/11 Photography Experiences

Video thumbnail for vimeo video Joel Meyerowitz and Steve McCurry Talk About Their 9/11 Photography Experiences - The Phoblographer

On this very tough day of remembrance for many Americans, there are photos and stories of the events being passed around involving heroism and fear. The stories that we hear the most are those of police and fire fighters–but indeed many photojournalists have their own stories.

To start, Magnum photographer Steve McCurry was in New York after returning from China and tried to capture the events as they were folding starting a little before 10AM. He states that he couldn’t hear the crashes into the World Trade Center, but that he could hear the screams of people below on the streets. “There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and suddenly everything went dark” is what Mr. McCurry states.

 

But in contrast, Mr. Meyerowitz states that he wasn’t there and instead tried to make one of the most historic records of the scenes by using a Leica, a 4×5 and a 6×7 camera that according to him “makes you feel it in your gut.”

Videos of their accounts are after the jump.

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This Time Lapse of the 9/11 Memorial Took 10 Years to Create

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Following the very emotional, very moving National September 11 Museum dedication on May 15 when President Obama once again led many to remembering those who were lost in the 9/11 tragedy, webcam network EarthCam released an HD time-lapse video showing the construction of the museum as well as its twin reflection pools.

Produced and directed by EarthCam CEO and founder Brian Cury, this amazing two and a half minute video serves as the culmination of the many web cameras the network installed at the World Trade Center even before the rebuilding efforts and of the over 1 million images they had gathered.

The video, the official commemoration video for the 9/11 Memorial Museum, documents the museum’s almost 13-year construction from October 2004 to May 2014. It covers everything from the groundbreaking to its completion, as seen from high vantage points, and features the Survivor Tree, which has become an important symbol of strength, resilience, and survival in the complex.

It’s EarthCam’s way of honoring the 9/11 victims and is dedicated to their families and friends as well as the men who were involved in the rescue and recovery efforts.

The museum itself officially opens to the public on May 21st but we can already watch the commemorative video. See it after the jump.

 

Via Gothamist

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Negatives of Former President John F Kennedy Destroyed in 9/11 Have Been Restored

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Lightbox has an extremely uplifting and interesting feature on the photos of Jacques Lowe, who photographed former President John F Kennedy. Lowe was hired at the age of 28 and started photographing the family two years before John even entered office. He had a box of 40,000 negatives that were destroyed in the 9/11 tragedy. However, somehow or another 1,500 survived from his contact sheets and prints. The images were then painstakingly restored and scanned.

The images will be on display in the Newseum, located in Washington D.C. Some of the images will be part of the Creating Camelot exhibit–which Nikon is sponsoring. Head over to Lightboox to see some of the other images.

Via Time’s Lightbox

A Remarkable AF, Low Light Jackpot: Canon EOS R3 Review

Photographers now can take their pick of cameras that can shoot stills fast enough to actually be movies. But Canon’s approach to a speedy flagship is arguably the most different from Sony’s and Nikon’s. Instead of creating a camera that can shoot both fast and high resolution, the Canon EOS R3 uses a less-headline-worthy 24.1-megapixel sensor. Canon is taking a gamble that the photographers who want 30 fps are also the photographers who prioritize exceptional low light performance over high resolution. And, they’re trying to sweeten the deal with an autofocus system that will just focus on wherever you’re looking.

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Why McCurry Doesn’t Owe Anyone Royalties for Afghan Girl

Italy— Sharbat Gulla will now call the Mediterranean country her home. For those unaware of who Gulla is, that’s likely because you know her as Afghan Girl. She’s the 12-year-old refugee who stared down the lens of world-famous photographer Steve McCurry. The portrait went viral in today’s terms, and National Geographic was the platform that spread its power. Any time Gulla comes up in the news, so does McCurry’s contribution to her story, and many people show their disdain for the success McCurry has been able to enjoy because of it.

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Is the Canon EOS R Still a Good Camera? It’s a Pleasant Surprise!

It was Labor Day weekend of 2021. I, a small business owner and entrepreneur, couldn’t turn off the work mode: a fault many of us share. So for a little while, I took the Canon EOS R and Canon EOS R5 to the waterfront to do a bit of testing. A few questions rang in my head. Is the Canon EOS R5 really too heavy for a photo walk? Is the Canon EOS R even a good camera anymore? After all, the Canon EOS R is more or less a pivot from the Canon 5D Mk IV. It’s got the same sensor, far superior autofocus, the same build quality, but not all of the same ergonomic pleasantries. And when I bought mine years ago, I truly liked it.

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