It’s my birthday. September twelfth. Thirteen years and one day ago the Twin Towers were destroyed along with a lot of our sense of safety in the world. Like most of us, I was deeply troubled and still am by the attacks reported the day before on television and recapped in that morning’s Wall Street Journal.
Like Brian Matiash in his “Never Forget” post yesterday, I don’t have many photographs of the Towers either. I made mine in 1995 during a trip to the City. It’s a frame or two of 35mm Kodacolor negative film shot with my Nikon F3 from a friend’s apartment in the Villiage. It didn’t take long to find the negative and scan it. The rust colored building in the foreground is the NYU Library.
I went back to the same apartment in the summer of 2002 with my super high resolution (back then) DSLR, a 6.1 megapixel Kodak (remember Kodak? Kodak invented digital capture) DCS 760. I set up on a solid tripod in the same window as in ’95 and made photographs at dawn, at dusk and in late afternoon sun, never moving the camera so every photo was in register. I put them together to make an eerie, night-during-daytime otherworldly reality. That’s how I felt not seeing the Towers where they belonged. I added the ghosts of the Twins in exactly the same place as the Towers had stood for so long.
I made a limited edition of sixteen by twenty prints. Most of them went to guests at my fiftieth birthday party a year and a day after the devastation of the World Trade Center, the damage to the Pentagon and the loss of United Flight 93 in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
I always smile when I see the photograph hanging in one of their homes.
Today is better than it was thirteen years ago. Freedom Tower stands proudly in front of where the Twins did.
I am heading back to New York to that same apartment next month to make the current version of skyline.
And yes. The Twins’ ghosts will be in that one too.