Sept. 11 photo project travels to D.C.

Posted 8:41 p.m. April 8

by Patrick W. Higgins
U-WIRE (DC BUREAU)

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – A traveling exhibit of photographs that depict scenes from the terrorists’ attacks of Sept. 11 ended a month-long stay at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., last week.

The Sept. 11 Photo Project, the official name of the exhibit, is an open forum for amateur and professional photographs and written notes capturing images and emotions from the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It was founded in October of 2001 in an empty SoHo apartment just 12 blocks from Ground Zero in New York City.

In the past five months, the collection of written and visual memorabilia has grown from 200 to nearly 4,000 pieces.

“The design of the project is not simply a photography or art show,” explained Michael Feldschuh, a Wall Street executive and co-founder of the project in recent press release, “but an exhibit to communicate people’s stories and experience.”

The pictures included in the display show the WTC site before, during, and after the attacks. The photos vary in their images — with some focusing on the actual building damage and others capturing human reactions.

In one of the project’s most prominent pieces, the first tower is engulf in flames as the second airplane is about to strike the second tower. A number of pictures were taken from inside the lobby of the first tower, before the second attack, depicting office workers fleeing amidst black clouds of ash and debris.

On the human side, simple pictures of a single shoe, abandoned briefcases and women’s handbags deliver an eerie chill. Many notes and letters from survivors were displayed alongside the thousands of photographs.

In one particular note, Nayala J. Smith, a 7-year-old child who lives in lower Manhattan recounted, “My school bus didn’t show up today. My dad and I waited for a long time, then we went back to (our) apartment to call the bus company. While we were waiting for a call back, there was a big explosion and it blew our curtains and windows out. Me and my mom ran onto the terrace and we saw a really big hole in the World Trade Center.”

In one section of the exhibit, makeshift goggles convey a three-dimensional image of the rubble left from the collapse of the twin towers.

While in D.C., the exhibit was housed in The Women in Military Service for America Memorial located in the center of Arlington National Cemetery. The memorial was founded in 1997 to pay tribute to the nearly two million women who have served in the military since the American Revolutionary.

“We are enormously proud to have been selected by the project as the host for the exhibit’s Washington, D.C., stop,” said retired Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught, President of the Women’s Memorial Foundation. “The Memorial is a place of tribute to the nation’s military women and we’re honored to share this remarkable site, even briefly, for a tribute to the victims of Sept. 11.”

All the artwork from the project was compiled into a book, from which all proceeds go to the NYC Firefighters Burn Foundation, a non-profit organization involved in burn care, research and prevention.

The project will be in Sacramento, Calif., for a month beginning April 26 before moving to Los Angeles in June.

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