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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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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