Windows on the World – a glimpse inside the World Trade Center in August 2001

Konstantin Petrov - Windows on the World - August 2001
Konstantin Petrov – Windows on the World – August 2001

I never realized it until reading this New Yorker piece, but I have absolutely no idea about what the World Trade Center might have looked like on the inside. The only images that come to mind are of the Twin Towers standing, exploding, falling, or being jumped from. As described in Take Picture, a Talk of the Town piece in this week’s New Yorker, a young Estonian immigrant named Konstantin Petrov worked at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and was an avid photographer.

Working the night shift, he’d take pictures with a point-and-shoot in the hallways and offices of the towers and of the banquet halls and dining room sitting empty and ready for the next day’s customers. It’s an odd little piece of photography that fills in a piece of my personal geography that I didn’t even know needed filling. Petrov worked the night of September 10th, and started driving home a little after 8am on the 11th. He noticed some debris as he was leaving, but didn’t know what happened until he’d gotten home. His pictures from inside the towers, some uploaded as late as August 2001, and from after the attack, are available on Petrov’s Fotki site, last updated around 12 years ago. A number of the images were used in a National Geographic documentary, 9/10: The Final Hours. This image seems to be a self-portrait of Petrov.

On the subject of images from inside the World Trade Center, seek out the documentary 9/11 (IMDB) by French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet and FDNY firefighter James Hanlon. The filmmakers had been following young firefighters in the Engine 7/Ladder 1/Battalion 1 Firehouse on Duane Street in Lower Manhattan for several months; the firehouse was one of the closest to the World Trade Center site. The filmmakers were there gathering footage on the morning of September 11th, and were among the first people on the scene after the first crash. Their footage in the documentary is the only video taken that morning from inside the Twin Towers. That footage, as papers and bodies fall to the ground outside the towers, is chilling.

By the way, Esquire’s article The Falling Man, a modern classic of long-form journalism, is now a fund-raiser for the James Foley Scholarship Fund at Marquette University. Read it now if you haven’t already. And if you have, read it again.

Remembering James Foley, part 2

RememberingJim.org
RememberingJim.org

The day after James Foley’s tragic death, we collected a number of remembrances written by friends and colleagues.  Many more have been published since the news first came out, and we thought it’d be good to link to those here.

Since Foley’s death, there has been much written about freelancers covering war, government response to kidnapping, what was and can be done to save Foley and others held captive in Syria and elsewhere, the dangers faced by local journalists, and what it means to publish gruesome images released by organizations with agendas. It’s impossible to link to them all, but here are a few that I’ve found interesting:

  1. James Foley’s Killing Highlights Debate Over Ransom
  2. James Foley’s killers pose many threats to local, international journalists
  3. James Foley’s Choices
  4. The Men Who Killed James Foley
  5. Should Twitter Have Taken Down the James Foley Video?
  6. James Foley Among Many Young, Close-Knit Freelance War Reporters
  7. James Foley is a reminder why freelance reporting is so dangerous
  8. James Foley and fellow freelancers: exploited by pared-back media outlets
  9. Did New York tabloids go too far by printing gruesome images of James Foley’s execution?
  10. How to Take a Picture of a Severed Head [← This one was published before news of Foley's killing but fits in line with the discussion of publishing images released by terrorist organizations, governments, etc.]

Meanwhile, over the weekend, tremendous news arrived that Peter Theo Curtis, a journalist missing since 2012, had been released. He was apparently held by an Al Qaeda affiliate there after his abduction from Turkey near the Syrian Border.

Steven Sotloff, the other American journalist seen in the Foley execution video, remains in peril. The Committee to Protect Journalists notes that 69 journalists have been killed since 2012, and an estimated 20 journalists, primarily Syrian, are presumed missing there.

Yale Photogrammar: searchable, organized archive of 170,000 FSA photos

Yale Photogrammar - Photos from the FSA organized
Yale Photogrammar – Photos from the FSA organized

A Yale University initiative has made 170,000 FSA photos available online in an easily searchable archive called Photogrammar. The US Farm Security Administration’s Office of War Information photography project during the Great Depression was an unbelievable undertaking. A handful of photographers spent a decade chronicling life in the United States as a way to build support for government programs. The work continues to be an inspiration (see Facing Change, for instance, or Everyday USA), but it’s always been tough to take it all in. The Library of Congress’ archive is difficult to navigate; some images might also be on the Flickr Commons, but it’s hard to tell.

You can search by keyword or photographer, but for me the county-by-county map of photos is the best way to navigate. No matter where you are in the US, you can probably find a photo taken within 50 miles. Check out the dot map, too; you can easily see Jack Delano‘s route between Chicago and Los Angeles there, for instance. And looking up Delano, I learned that he was a composer and earned $2,300/year while photographing for the FSA, the equivalent of $39,270.57 in 2014.

I could spend hours looking through this website…

(via a friend on Facebook)