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…