Iconic 9/11 image

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by severian, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. severian

    severian Member

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    Some photographs reach iconic status. Iwo Jima and Migrant Mother are examples of photographs that are symbolic for an entire age. I don't think that any photograph of the 9/11 catastrophe has yet risen to that status. Perhaps it is too soon. Perhaps we Americans are still too shocked by the events to allow one image to say all the emotions that were realized on that day. Which photograph of 9/11 will become the iconic image? On September 11 2101 which photograph will people be looking at the sums up the then 100 year old emotions?

    Jack-Severian, Autarch of Urth
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Probably the one of the government dancing on the constitution....

    Thats the knee jerk answer. Actually what remains is to see if 9/11 will be historically significant. Don't anyone freak out, as I'm not belittling or demeaning the event, just saying alllot can happen in 100 years that reduces many events, and elevates others. 9/11 may or may not be important a 100 years from now. Since there is no one iconic image, I wouldn't expect one to emerge.
     
  3. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    I agree with the above - 9/11 is of widespread importance but the ramifications are just as widespread. It'll be seen as an ignition point for a lot of things to the world, a strong moment of mixed emotions to a nation, and sadness to those who lost loved ones.
    I'm not sure what photo can sum that all up. Maybe the one of the second plane hitting, or the people running away down the street, but it's not like the Normandy landing with only one photographe, or VJ-day with just one emotion, so I'd say it'll take quite a while for a single photo to come to the surface.
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    So many people have taken so many photographs, that it may be hard to have one that stands out. As pointed above, there aren't many other pictures of the Iwo Jima flag raising.

    I would rather go on a tangent and propose that video sequences are far more important. The crumbling of the first tower, the shot of the plane entering the second tower, the people running in the street and that cop telling people to get the hell out of there, those are etched because they played forever in loops. Also, because the crumbling cannot be experienced by a single shot in its full amplitude.
     
  5. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I wonder if there even should be only one or two iconic images of the WTC disaster. Capsulizing the news into sound bytes and icons rarely serves the stories very well, and perpetuates the shallow once-over we all too often give events that should be covered in depth. The New York Times printed at least a paragraph, and a picture when available, of ever single person who was murdered on 9/11 in a series that took as long as necessary to cover that story. That, IMHO, was doing it right! And then there's Jon-Benet......
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I also think video of the second plane hitting or the climactic frame from it will have that status. Is there a still photograph of that moment, or do we just have video? As I recall there was a photographer in Tribeca who got some important shots from his roof with a 300/2.8.

    There are images that we haven't seen very much that may become iconic in the future--jumpers and such. While it was happening, I was watching the events unfold on the Spanish language network, Univision, which offerred the best reception, and listening to WNYC, the local NPR affiliate. Univision showed more graphic images than the major networks.
     
  7. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    My vote for the most unique shot of this event is Jerry Spagnoli's daguerrotype. It is stunning, and just has that physical object/permanance aura about it that dags and ambrotypes just seem to radiate. Plus the idea of a truly singular image, in every sense of the word, of a singular event seems somehow appropriate.
     
  8. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Whenever 9/11 is mentioned I always see the picture of the Firefighter, looking directly into the lens, making his way up the stairs as office workers are evacuating the other way. It was carried on many front pages.
     
  9. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    The lyrics from one of Bruce Springsteen songs depict the scene of the firefighters searching and rescuing the victims in the buildings on that day, and that's visual enough and somewhat iconic to me since I've been a long time fan of his music.

    All the video footage that have been repeated on the mainstream media seem to be intended to be iconic and symblic, but that's only a snipped image of the whole tragedy. Personally the plain-hitting image didn't get me thinking about what was really going on, but the impact it had on many people and the loss of many innocent lives did.

    What I remember so clearly is that everyone around me and I ran into (I was living in another U.S. city at that time) was walking back from work in the morning hours and crying all day. That deep gray atmosphere stayed for at least a week or so, which I had never experienced before, and that's something very hard to forget.
     
  10. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

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    I think any photograph that shows the suffering of our times are usually compelling to those in the following generation. It's hard to look at our own times and ebrace a photo of our own tragic. Although as photographers we are capable of seeing past the underlying symbolism of an image and for the image in itself which may or may not represent a pure stroke of genius.
     
  11. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    After much searching I have found the photograph I was referring to.
     
  12. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I really thought that the photo taken by (a photographer named Franklin???) who worked for (a new Jersey newspaper?) of 3 firefighters raising a flag on a pole left in the debris would be the icon. In fact I (wrongly) predicted it would win a Pulitzer. For obvious reasons, it is the one that strikes a major chord with people in my profession.
     
  13. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    To be frank about it - I am a 9/11 survivor. I was lucky enough to have been stopped at the corner of Church & Fulton Sts. waiting for the light to change when the first plane hit.

    Over the course of the immediate attack, and for about an hour afterward, I saw first hand much of what, in some form or another, became photo images in the media. Some images I would prefer to forget.

    Given my closeness to the event - it is probably harder for me to discern what are the iconic images than those more distant from the attack. Obviously, the "Iwo-like" image of the firemen raising the flag in the rubble sticks with many of us - but it is derivative.

    There are images I remember from the NY Times (some quite disturbing) that may or may not be iconic.

    I guess I am very curious. Which images are seen iconic (if any) by people not present that day in that they universally conveyed the sense of horror and tragedy?
     
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  15. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    There was an image which apeared in a couple of papers but was pulled in later editions. The falling man. It conveys everything about 9/11, the tragedy and the horror.
     
  16. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    I think Jerry Spagnoli's daguerreotype will become the iconic image amongst photographers because of its uniqueness and the fact that the invention of the daguerreotype represented a turning point in representation and culture and heralded a new age, just as 911 represents another historical turning point.

    The other that sticks in my mind that the general public may remember is the video sequence shot at a very low upward angle of the guy having a casual coffee/conversation at a table with the tower being hit by the plane above him.

    Joe
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    As another 9/11 survivor ( I was in the Pentagon when the plane hit ), the one that most resonates with me and I think comes the closest is the one of the firefighters raising the flag. It has been issued on a 9/11 commemorative postage stamp, which comes as close to certifying icon status as any one action can. In some ways, actually in many ways, I'm glad there was no iconic image to emerge from the Pentagon attack. The mental images I have of that day are still rather vivid, and the whole day was just so surreal that I don't think I want anything to try and encapsulate it.
     
  18. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Seriously? You were in the Pentagon?? No joke?
     
  19. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Andy,

    This is very similar (perhaps the same) shot to one of the ones I was thinking of - one that is much more unsettling (and less uplifting) that the "Iwo-like" shot.

    The one I remember was on the front page of the NY Times on 9/12. It could be the same shot - or from the same "series". The one in the newspaper was more "zoomed in" and in B&W. Also, as I recall, the victim was in a somewhat more fetal position. In fact, to those of us who worked there, he resembled nothing so much as one of us plummeting to the earth as if still seated in our office chairs - but alone and upside down!

    The image that more sears in my mind was one I witnessed that was also captured by a photog and became the name of a short-lived theater drama. It was one of two women who "strengthened" their resolve to jump to death by holding hands. It is known as "Falling Angels" - apparently based on what a teacher in nearby Tribeca told a child witness she was seeing in order to calm her from what was really happening.

    Truth be told, I worked in 6WTC which was one of the "low" buildings that surrounded the Towers. As I said, I was standing across the street from the WTC complex waiting for the stop light to change when the first plane hit 1WTC. Those of my co-workers who had already arrived in the office all escaped safely, thank goodness.

    [Oh, BTW, I think the JBrunner post was friggin' insensitive. Glib remarks on the eve of the 5th anniversary - when we should remember the 2300 dead - are stupid! While I might otherwise agree with Brenner's politics - his remarks serve only to advance those politicians who "use" 9/11/01 for nefarious reasons. He owes all of us an apology for saying what he did!]
     
  20. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    How do you figure that, George? I thought he dealt with things VERY sensitively. I think he addressed the issue already - or did I just imagine that-?

    Were you right beside 7 when they pulled it's structure? That would have been insane to witness (well, not that 1 and 2 weren't even moreso!!). My god. The mind reels. Watching it on TV was intense enough!
     
  21. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You did not read my post very thoroughly, or you misunderstood. My heart goes out to all the families. My remarks are certainly not glib. The use of the tragedy by politicos and others to undermine basic civil liberties, or any other self serving agenda is the truly offensive thing (paling besides the tragedy of course). That was my point. The historical relevance of the event will be determined by time and future events. There are many slaughters that have happened in the past 100 years that eclipse 9/11 by an incredible magnitude, yet they are not held dear by history. That does not demean the death of any person, nor does it mean that I personally am not affected in my life and time. It is unfortunate that you are offended in some way, and I hope this clears things up a little bit. As to an apology, nope sorry, that would be a self serving load of crap, and a lie too boot.
     
  22. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    ?

    Where were you that bright sunny day? Sitting at home in LA watching TV?

    As to where I was, I scrammed my ass out of there right after the second plane hit 2WTC around 9:17AM. I may not be a hero - but at least I'm not so stupid as to stand in the way of those who are! I caught probably the last 6-line subway train of the day. I chose the local because I figured that if they shut down the system - the stations were closer together for evacuation. And I chose to go to the subway because I remembered that's where the Londoner's went during the blitz bombings in WWII!

    As a matter of fact, 7 didn't fall until around 6PM - long after the Towers had dropped. Oh, and it did not have to be pulled down - it came down all by itself! 7WTC (where no one died) included a ConEd power substation encased in the first 8 or so floors). As a consequence, there was a large diesel fuel tank beneath the substation to power it in emergencies. It was the final explosion of this fuel that resulted in the destruction of 7.

    7 has been replaced by a new building - it's site was always "peripheral" to the actual WTC complex such that there has been no controversy about rebuilding there - and is now finally beginning to attract some office tenants (one of my old employers - Moody's Investors Service - just recently signed a lease :D )

    And, at the end of the day - what do you really have to offer to this thread? Is there an iconic photo you wish to speak of?


    As to Brunner's remarks:

    I'll say this:

    Within the span of a few short minutes, 2300 innocent people were killed in a terrorist attack. They were ordinary men and women going about their ordinary business on a bright, clear and sunny, late Summer day. As we came to learn, they comprised the very diversity of their City and Nation. They were people of many races, ethnicities and creeds - and they were all New Yorkers and Americans.

    On that day, their nation was not at war such that they should fear they might be subject to an attack. They had no reason to suspect that their ordinary actions that morning would be their last. They went to work that morning having every right to expect that their day would be normal and they would return home at the end of it to once again see their family and friends - their "loved ones".

    Never before in the history of the US have so many innocent people been slaughtered in a violent attack in such a single event. If this atrocity is not remembered 100 years from now - then it will likely mean that only more horrible and unspeakable events will have occurred subsequently.

    But we in New York will build at the site of this horror a beautiful memorial that will speak to future generation of the atrocity that occurred and, more importantly, of the heroism it engendered. Long after the cynical pundits and opportunistic politicians of our present day have passed from the scene this memorial will stand as a reminder of what occurred on 9/11/01.
     
  23. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Just curious - why did the landlord (larry silverstein) say it was a controlled demo then?
     
  24. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Sparky,

    Thank you for reminding me why they have an "Ignore" function on these websites!
     
  25. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Still not sure why you would think I disagree with you, George.
     
  26. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    whatever. this is him sayin' it - right here. It was a practical decision. I'm sure that the fact that the building was pre-wired with demolition charges doesn't mean anything. Lots of buildings are.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7750532340306101329&q=silverstein&hl=en