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LIVE from the NYPL: Aftermath: Joel Meyerowitz on the World Trade Center Archive

September 11, 2006

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September 11 Remembrance Features Ground Zero Photographs by Joel Meyerowitz

LIVE from the NYPL Event Commemorates Fifth Anniversary of Attacks.

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of 9/11, a selection of Joel Meyerowitz's photographs from Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive will be projected in the Reading Room with the photographer retelling excerpts from the 100 stories about his experiences at the site. The event will also feature a one-day exhibition of the work including an oversized 8?x22? panorama of the Ground Zero site. The event will close with a performance of Barber's Adagio for Strings by the Julliard Chamber Orchestra.

After September 11, 2001, Ground Zero was classified as a crime scene and only those directly involved in the recovery were allowed inside. With the help from the Museum of the City of New York and sympathetic public officials, award-winning photographer Joel Meyerowitz obtained unlimited access. For nine months Meyerowitz photographed the pile, as the WTC came to be known. Influenced by Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange's work for the Farm Security Administration during the Depression, Meyerowitz knew that if he didn't make a photographic record of the unprecedented recovery effort, there would be no history.

I was making photographs for everyone who didn't have access to the site, said Joel Meyerowitz. I wanted to communicate what it felt like to be in there as well as what it looked like: to show the pile's incredible intricacy and visceral power. I could provide a window for everyone else who wanted to be there, too to help, or to grieve, or simply to try to understand what had happened to our city.

Lead sponsor for the event

All photographs printed and generously donated by 

photo of Joel Meyerowitz by Maggie Barrett

About Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz's photographic work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. He is the author of 14 other books, including Bystander: The History of Street Photography and Tuscany: Inside the Light. In 1998 he produced and directed his first film, POP, an intimate diary of a three-week road trip he made with his son, Sasha, and his father, Hy. Within a few days of the 9/11 attacks, Meyerowitz began to create an archive of the destruction and recovery at Ground Zero that now numbers more than 8,000 images and will be available for research, exhibition, and publication at museums in New York and Washington, DC. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. State Department, the Museum of the City of New York and Meyerowitz created a special exhibition of images from the archive that traveled to more than 200 cities in 60 countries. His book, Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive (Phaidon), contains 450 of Meyerowitz's World Trade Center Archive photographs.