Saturday, September 09, 2006

Perspective is important...

9/11 was horrible. There's nothing anyone can say or do that will detract from the brutal ending those people met and the psychological impact it had on the rest of us. But this photo puts that day into another, less popular perspective. It was not the total apocalypse that so many tightly cropped images and film clips would have those of us who were not there believe it was. Here in Thomas Hoepker's excellent photograph, we see a calm gathering at the Brooklyn shore, an almost idyllic end of summer scene, were it not for the plumes of ash rising from downtown Manhattan. Their relaxed demeanor is shocking to us at first glance, but recalling that day, don't you remember how comforting and conversational people were? Yes, there were freak outs and emotional outbursts, but there was also awe and shock and nervous laughter and the quiet that accompanies history in the making and people with cats to feed and people who missed it on TV and went about their isolated business. I think of all the people who said that nothing would ever be the same again. I think of those who blamed 9/11 for things those events could not possibly have influenced. The nightmare of the cropped photos became an excuse and a catapult for so many conjurings and agendas. If there had been no cameras in Manhattan that day would we be where we are now?


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