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  1. #1

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    Iconic 9/11 image

    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?

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  2. #2
    JBrunner's Avatar
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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. #3
    Alex Bishop-Thorpe's Avatar
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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. #4
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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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.
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  5. #5
    jovo's Avatar
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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......
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    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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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.
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  7. #7
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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.
    I just want to feel nostalgic like I used to.


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  8. #8
    Andy K's Avatar
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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.


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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy K
    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.
    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. #10
    djklmnop's Avatar
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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.
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