Some Projects Just Take Longer
This three-photograph project began unknowingly in 1999, as I was testing a new lens for my Minolta film camera. I drove to Jersey City, N.J. and decided to take some photographs of the old Central Railroad of NJ train terminal and of Lower Manhattan. The location was in Liberty State Park, not far from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. It was a cloudless and hazy afternoon and the photographs, including the one just below were quickly relegated to an old slide tray.
Approximately two years later, on September 11, 2001 I was scheduled to meet a group of former colleagues in New York City at noon, and my Path train would have arrived below the World Trade Center at 11:15am. Needless to say, I never got on the train and with hundreds of millions of others, watched on TV the horror of that morning. After over 10 years of commuting into Manhattan or Jersey City, and taking for granted the magnificant NYC skyline dominated by the World Trade Center towers, I realized I had only one photograph of the Twin Towers, and it was taken on that day when I was casually shooting in and around the old train terminal in Liberty State Park.
Beginning on October 7th, 2001 I visited the site of the WTC and the surrounding area on numerous occasions to photograph the aftermath of 9/11.
After 9/11, I decided I wanted to try to go to the same location from 1999 and make a photograph of the same scene, but this time of a very different Manhattan skyline. So in April 2002, I went back to Jersey City and armed with a print of the first photograph, located as accurately as I could, the exact location from which I had taken that first photograph in 1999.
A dozen years later, in April 2014 I had a trip planned to NYC and decided, since the new Freedom Tower had finally been topped off, that it was time to add the third photograph to the set. Finding the shooting location was complicated even further by the change on the New Jersey shoreline where landfill had been added and a New Jersey 9/11 memorial had been built. But if you look carefully, you will notice a tiny green navigation buoy in the Hudson River that allowed me to precisely lineup the corner of the World Financial Center tower in all three photographs. I now had the final photograph of this 15 year project.
To me, these three photographs represent the resilience of hope of New York City.
Some projects last days, some months, and some take longer.
On my website I have a gallery named "Gone, But Not Forgotten." You can view a few of the 9/11 photographs I have taken over the years.