As an American, I was drawn to yesterday’s stories and photographs remembering 9/11 fifteen years later. It was impossible to stop the tears when reading tributes to the heroes in uniform and ordinary people impacted by this day in our history. On 9/11/01, I missed the relentless television news feed as the story unfolded. I was at a client’s office in Atlanta, and spent the entire day driving north on a nearly deserted I-95, following an irresistible urge to make it to my safe place, my farm outside DC. The radio news painted a picture in words - and I sobbed as they described the members of Congress singing “God Bless America” on the Capitol steps. But, its only been after the fact that I have come to have a visual memory of that terrible day.
As a photographer, I was struck by the photographers who shot iconic images of that day — and almost to a person when interviewed, said they had put the photos away and never looked at them again. So deeply were they impacted by being a witness to the events, that they didn’t dare to open their hearts to the horror again. Some were just now beginning to find the stomach to open their files and review work that they wish they had never made.
In this era of cell phones and snapchat, we are inundated with images. Seemingly nothing is exempt from being captured. But even as we are saturated with photographs, the professional photographers continue to make an impact on they way we view and remember our lives. Their images, more carefully tuned and curated than in the past, rise above the noise and do more than capture a “share of eyeball”. They continue to give us hope, enrage us, move us to action or make us fall in love.
I have a purpose and am focusing my photography on supporting that purpose. Are you?