on December 12, 2001
It's startling to read the reviews of this book on the heels of having read the reviews for "One Nation," the book put out by Time-Life. It's clear that many people hold some pre-conceived notion about Magnum and are predisposed to panning this book. Well, I know nothing about Magnum. I've heard the name but I couldn't tell you anything about the company. What I can tell you is that I live in New York and I watched this entire thing happen from my window. I now own two books about 9-11 -- One Nation and this -- and for the best accounting of what happened that day,I have to give the edge to Magnum. There are pictures in this book that are exactly what I witnessed that day. I actually prefer that they rely on photographers to tell what they witnessed instead of having upper-crust "experts" put everything into perspective. Also, contrary to what a reviewer in Seattle says, the colors depicted in the Magnum book are accurate. During the day, the sun used to reflect off of the World Trade Center buildings. On that day, it was reflecting off of impossible clouds of smoke -- black and white -- and the eery gray and washed out blue was how it looked and felt here. Also, something this book does that One Nation doesn't do, is supply several pages in the back of the book -- "Farewell to the Towers" -- featuring photos of the Towers as they were. The final picture is of a woman on the Staten Island Ferry, the WTC and New York behind her -- smelling a bouquet of flowers. I like this book. Alot.
on January 17, 2002
A photographer, lounging in bed and unaware of the disaster unfolding a few blocks away, is awakened by a colleague with the news of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center.
In New York City for a meeting, and unfamiliar with the territory, he asks his colleague where the WTC is.
"Follow the smoke, country boy," is her reply.
This anecdote resonates on several levels. It tells us about how everyone, it seems, was affected on that day, and it tells us how one photojournalist, one of several Magnum photo agency photographers, was personally touched by the events. He and others, who had come from postings around the world to New York City for a meeting the day before, captured the images of the story of their professional lives. And, of course, it's about the dreadful smoke, the utter devastation as the Twin Towers first burned then collapsed in full view of millions.
The Magnum book is an excellent record of the disaster. Even those who have seen hundreds of photos and TV accounts will find pictures that are worthy of extra study. As a record, it's excellent, though I have yet to find a book that has captured the entire story. It's probably too soon. But the starkness of many of the pictures, the shades of gray and blue as the concrete dust and soot spewed for blocks (and later miles) and then settled on everything an everyone, should be seen in still photo. It's very different from the moving images on TV and demand careful attention.
The photos tell us that people sometimes do strange things, though they may be explicable. There's probably a reason that a woman sat on a rooftop in Brooklyn, with her baby, and watched the disaster, even though the choking smoke must have drifted over her pretty quickly. Perhaps she couldn't look away.
The red, white and blue of an American flag adds just a touch of color to the otherwise smoky blue-gray centerpiece picture by Thomas Hoepker. It's a chilling picture, one capable of telling anyone who wasn't there what it really looked like, almost what it felt like.
This book is absolutely a keeper for the future. Many are not the news pictures we've become familiar with because of the endless reruns on TV but that's what gives them extra value. As time passes, and memories fade, this book will remind us what it was like that awful day.
on December 20, 2001
Excellent, moving collection by some of the top working photojournalists alive. Publishing under enormous pressure, within a remarkable timeframe, and proceeds go to an important cause.
The nitpicking reviews are just unbelieveable. News flash: photojournalists working in 35mm, moving rapidly, with dust all over their lenses and film badly scratched from debris in the air will produce images that, when enlarged, look grainy. Look at the images and think about them. Non-photographers criticising technical aspects, as if this was a collection of fashion or outdoor adventure shots, is absurd.
on November 20, 2001
As a survivor of the World Trade Center tragedy, I find it difficult to describe to others just what September 11th was like for me. This book places you in the streets of lower Manhattan, capturing the sights and emotions of a day that is burned into my memory. It is almost as if they were looking through my eyes when these pictures were taken. Magnum Photographers has created a fitting tribute to the World Trade Center, New York City, and all of us who were so deeply affected by the events of that day.
Those who were at Ground Zero have indicated that the photographs and television coverage can never give full justice to the scope of this incomprehensive act of villainy. However, this book provides a record as meaningful, as any other printed record, of September 11, now burned into the collective memory and psyche of all Americans. The photographs are indeed spectacular, yet poignantly haunting and tragic documentation of a day that will indeed "Live in Infamy."
The photographers, true professionals all, present these compelling images of the destruction of the WTC, loss of life and subsequent rescue efforts.
A tribute to the World Trade Center, a magnificent not only for its physical structure, but for its role as a symbol of freedom, includes pictures taken since the original construction of the Twin Towers since the 1970's.
Portrayed in its horror, without the sense of exploitation, is what sets this apart from other books. The brief introduction by David Halberstam is also well done.
This book captures in photographs one of the most terrible acts against the United States in history.The thing that makes this act so evil is that it was committed against people at peace.In all the pictures there is no sign of the perpetrators,no sign of any military ,only the shock and horror on the faces of people who started out their day in peaceful pursuit of their lives.The pictures show that those involved had no idea of what or why this terrible thing was happening.It is hard to think of another event in history that compares.Bad as Pearl Harbor was,the people who were attacked knew who the enemy was and why they were being attacked.This was not the case on 9/11.This is what separates terrorists from an enemy.
What makes this book so good is that it can be quickly turned to every once in a while as a reminder of this day any why the War on Terror must be pursued to end this threat to all people who believe in freedom.This book shows what terrorists are capable of with or without weapons of mass destruction.No other proof is needed.
Of the half dozen or so photographic books dealing with September 11th, this book is particularly compelling--not just for the photographs (which, of themselves, are gripping and powerful) but also for the comments of the photographers. Along with fire- and policemen and medical personnel, the other people who ran toward the scene of this event (which--along with the assassination of JFK has become a signal date--one when everyone remembers exactly what they were doing at the time) were photographers.
Photographers are the people who use (and need) images to present their impressions of any given experience. What makes this book unique is the accompanying thoughts of those people who captured the moment-to-moment aspects during the horrific attacks on the World Trace Center and after. The images in the aftermath are otherworldly in heart-squeezing fashion: shots of burning wreckage, of inward-looking firefighters, of something as ordinary as a street vendor's cart that looks bewilderingly out of place in the forefront of a scene whose background is a wall of impenetrable black smoke.
This a deeply affecting look, close up, at what so many of us are still attempting to comprehend.
on September 25, 2002
By some cosmic quirk of fate, the illustrious collective known as Magnum Photographers had one of their big meetings in New York City on Monday, September 10th, 2001. This means, of course, that when the horrific events of Tuesday, September 11th took place, there were dozens and dozens of superbly qualified and talented photographers all over the city. As if by reflex, these brave women and men documented the events of that day.
The photographs get first consideration here. There is text, of course, but the photographs tell the story. It's difficult to look through the book and not feel as though you were there yourself. Witness Steve McCurry's triptych of the second tower coming down, looking for all the world like a dying flower, the smoke almost appearing like drooping petals curving down towards the earth (p. 8). Witness Susan Meiselas' photograph of one of those life-size statues you see hither and yon in Manhattan--this one of a cheerfully smiling businessman seated on a bench, opening up his briefcase to check on something. He is knee-deep in debris, and trees behind and beside him are crushed and bent (p. 30). The juxtaposition perfectly captures the sense of disconnectedness and inability to understand that we all felt that day. Witness Eli Reed's enormously moving photo of a construction worker wielding only a hammer. The man sits on a steel beam, hard hat on, booted feet tucked behind him. When you look beyond his hammer, you see the physical devastation all around him--yet there he sits, hammering as though he will make a difference (p. 104). Witness Gilles Peress' shots of shocked people appearing out of the snowy dust, accompanied by his simple and heartfelt statement: "I don't trust words. I trust pictures" (pp. 46 - 63).
"New York September 11" is an astonishing and heartbreaking photographic documentary of that day. I recommend it as a record for your children and yourself.
This is a book to mourn the mass murders on that day.
Walking from Manhattan to Brooklyn, over the Manhattan bridge, through torrents of horrified people, thousands covered in ash--all deadly silent--this is what it was like. There were no car horns. No one talked. No one laughed. Everyone knew he was lucky.
These photographs tell the story. Never forget.
--Alyssa A. Lappen
on November 29, 2001
While there are some good pictures in the book, many are dull (as if the film wasn't processed properly) and some are out of focus. Also, many pictures run across two pages, with the middle of the book obscuring the subject of the picture. For example, there is a picture of Bill Clinton hugging someone who had lost her firefighter husband. The center of the book runs straight through the back of the woman's head and part of Clinton's face.