10 Years Later, Photographer Joe McNally Exhibits 'The Faces of Ground Zero'
"Wow, I can't believe it's been ten years already." These are the words that'll drop from many lips, in a range of languages, for the next couple months as we hit the decade mark for the events of September 11, 2001. Everyone has a storywhere you were, what you were doing, who you know connected to the tragediesbut can they really compare to those of the First Responders and their families? The history of 9/11 appears on their faces, deepening worry lines and giving a glint to a previously stony glare.
These are the people who star in ginormous polaroids by famed photographer Joe McNally, the polaroids which first went on display in 2002 after McNally captured the images in a studio on the Bowery, mere weeks after the World Trade Center came down. Revisiting the project these ten years later, McNally has switched to a Nikon DSLR but the subjects are the same.
The exhibit"Faces of Ground Zero: 10 Years Later"opens today and runs through September 12, 2011. It's located on the first and second levels of the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, New York City, and is completely free to the public. We stopped in just this morning...
Set up in an open format, the near life-size images are particularly haunting; it's as if you're standing next to these men and women, some still covered in dust from searching for survivors in the WTC rubble. Other portraits are of grief-stricken families, and reading the descriptions of their connections to the events of 9/11, it understandably gets emotional quickly.
Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani is in there, as is current mayor Mike Bloomberg. There are pilots of the first NYPD helicopter on the scene after the first plane stuck Tower No. 1. There's a nurse from the NYU Downtown Hospital, and Iron Workers, and Asbestos handlers, and a Securities Trader who worked on the 83rd story of Tower No. 2.
We felt most drawn to the portrait of Michael Lomonaco, who was Executive Chef at Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 106th floor of Tower No. 1. He is pictured holding a simple pair of eyeglasses which he purchased the morning of the attacks, a purchase which delayed him the few minutes needed to keep him alive and out of his restaurant during the first strike. Windows on the World lost 73 employees that day.
Okay. Enough. Just go see the exhibit.
[Photo at top: Joe McNally; Photo at bottom: Jaunted]