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Issue 10 - A Journal of Letters and Life
On That Day
Andrea Garland
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One of the issues we frequently discuss in my photography class is the photographer's ability to manipulate the viewer's response to the subject matter - by the choice of images presented and through the use of various photographic conventions such as perspective, lighting, focus, aperture, shutter speed. Often the viewer is unaware of these manipulations and regards photography as much more objective than, say, painting or sculpture or other art forms where a more obvious subjective manipulation is occurring.

These discussions have led me to pay more and more attention to my intentions behind every photo I shoot. Yet there are still plenty of times I simply pick up my camera and take a picture, with little or no thought or intention behind the photo - as many people take photos, a snapshot, a mere recording.

On Monday, September 10, I picked up 11 rolls of color film from the lab and glanced quickly through them, then put them aside.

On Tuesday, September 11, after the terrible events of the morning unfolded, I remembered I had some pictures of Manhattan Island taken from the airplane - snapshots. I took out the pictures for a visual reference of where the twin towers stood on the island. The picture to the right is the first picture I pulled out, and the irony of the airplane wing looming over the twin towers hit me. A snapshot.... there was no intending meaning when the picture was taken. Would I have taken such a picture after such an event, if such a thing were possible?

I did not intend to take this picture, this picture intended for me to take it. The only choice I make with it as a photographer is to share it with you.

There were, however, numerous photos I had intentionally taken in New York over the past year for various projects I had in mind. On September 11 I was in the middle of working on my first photography project of the semester - a 360 degree panorama of Times Square. I had also taken a bunch of pictures on the Brooklyn Bridge and was working those into a panorama as well.

After the events of the 11th, I felt I could not continue with my original project - it did not seem right to continue as if nothing had happened. And as I looked through the images I had already compiled I kept finding additional little pieces of irony.... a subway station with a sign for the WTC, images of the twin towers, and a billboard in Times Square (an advertisement for Hallmark) reading "story upon story upon story.... the world trade center." Still, how to change my project eluded me - I did not want to abandon the Times Square idea completely, but I did not know how to tie it in with my images of the twin towers. The day before the project was due it all came together. My images, two weeks of newspapers, hundreds of images from the internet, many tears and a long night later my personal tribute was born.

- Rabbi Marc Gellman, Yankee Stadium Memorial Service, September 2001

The installation. Each piece is 4 ft. x 3 ft., connected with string.

Below are the my actual photographic images (with the exception of the use of one image from the internet), digitally assembled and manipulated - to the left is part of the Times Square Panorama with an image of the WTC destruction superimposed over it. In the center is the billboard. To the right are all the other images relating in one way or another to the WTC.

Click on each image for a larger view.



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