Around Ground Zero : The 9/11 Photographs of B. Knapke
Overview - In this book, Bruce Knapke has assembled images from his private mission to document an event too horrific for words to express - the results of attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Drawing on a lesson he'd learned in workshops given by a professional photographer and his art teacher, Knapke sought to see things from a fresh perspective, to look at things differently. Read more...
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More About Around Ground Zero by B. Knapke
In this book, Bruce Knapke has assembled images from his private mission to document an event too horrific for words to express - the results of attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Drawing on a lesson he'd learned in workshops given by a professional photographer and his art teacher, Knapke sought to see things from a fresh perspective, to look at things differently. In doing so, he photographed scenes both large and small, close-ups of objects that told the story of the disaster in their simplicity as well as wide angle and panoramic shots of the pitted earth where magnificent skyscrapers had once stood. With a clear eye and a heart full of sorrow, Knapke recorded the scenes around Ground Zero without guile, with no pretense of breaking into the world of photojournalism with his images. His intent in recording what had happened was personal. Painstakingly, he sought images that would show the tragedy differently as he tried to make sense out of the surreal event that changed the country in general and his perspective on life specifically. He photographed everything he witnessed around Ground Zero, from the people who came to pay their respect to those who had died to those who came simply to see what had happened for themselves, from messages on the huge walls constructed around the fallen buildings to shrines spontaneously constructed for those who had died, from debris falling after the first plane hit to the ceremonies that marked the first anniversary of the tragedy. He found truth in ordinary objects, like the Manhattan phone book buried under layers of dust and a simple electrical outlet caught in a tree on its way to the ground. He captured the fierce patriotism that swept the country-flags large and small hanging everywhere, people dressed in stars and stripes, the colors of the American flag ever present.Knapke captured the contrasts he encountered, the mood and tone of the days following the attack shifting rapidly from one moment to the other. The smoke and fires that continued for months are found within his images, as are the eerily clean streets after they have been hosed down, which proved a futile effort since ash would invariably paint downtown Manhattan gray again before the end of the day. He caught both the teams of people working tirelessly to bring order back to a world turned inside out and solitary figures walking streets that were once packed with busy pedestrians on their way to and from work. Always insisting he is an amateur photographer, Knapke's very personal efforts provide an unadulterated, honest view of 9-11. Within these pages, Knapke's images portray the reverence for the thousands of victims, the sorrow, and the hustle and bustle of a distorted downtown New York. He shows the ever-changing landscape of Ground Zero while also capturing the amazing bond that united strangers in war-zone like streets as the country struggled to make sense out of sheer insanity. Many of Knapke's images have the strength to stand alone, yet assembled together they powerfully recreate the despair and hope that will forever be fused together through the efforts of a fallen city and a deeply wounded country to rise again from the ashes.
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