September 11, 2011

Remembering September 11

Today’s post will be short. It was ten years ago today that terrorists attacked the United States. Approximately 3000 people lost their lives that day in the attacks. Among the dead were photographers and journalists who had dedicated their lives to documenting the world around them. Most of these people we’re not famous and some were so new we don’t even know who they are. Perhaps the most well-known of the fallen photographers was Bill Biggart. You can read a compelling piece about his final exposures here – at The Digital Journalist.

While there are many feelings associated with September 11, for me, an odd one – but one which never-the-less continues to come to mind – is a feeling of pride. I am proud of Bill and his dedication to using his camera to tell the story of that day.

Photography played (and still plays) an important part in the 9-11 event. Photography allows us to remember. It preserves those memories, good and bad, for all time. It is documentation that proves the horror happened. Hundreds of years from now – some may doubt the story. But the pictures don’t lie. If it were not for courageous people like Bill Biggart, many of the brave heroes lost that day may not receive their full due, and history might become skewed.

It’s not every day that we’re out photographing tragedy’s like 9-11 – thank goodness for that. But every photograph we make of every place and every person – eventually may have some sort of historical significance to someone.

When we use our cameras to tell stories, we are setting out to make impotent images. Many of us are purposeful and make photographs because we think they might make a difference. In the case of Bill Biggart, he did that every day. And on the day he died, he had no idea it would be the last time he used a camera to tell a story. He just went forth and did what he always did; Made photographs – and even in death, shared them with us all.

Remember the importance of photography when you look at the pictures from 9-11. Remember the brave people who were associated with this event – including the photographers.