IMAGES FROM THE WAR AT HOME
COMPILED BY DAN HAVLIK AND ALICE B. MILLER • TEXT AND IMAGES AS INDICATED
Year in and year out, the occupations of "fireman"
and "policeman" top the list of the world's most dangerous jobs.
The burning truth of that statistic was no more evident than in the
tragic hours of September 11th, when hundreds of firemen and
policemen bravely risked their lives to save others.
As we all now know, many of those firemen and policemen—along with thousands of innocent civilians-never made it out alive themselves.
While the risks of running into a burning building or chasing down a dangerous criminal have been well documented, it may come as a surprise to some that the job of photojournalist, specifically war photojournalist, also consistently tops the list of the world's most dangerous occupations.
You don't need to tell that to Wendy Doremus, however, whose husband Bill Biggart was killed while photographing the attack on the World Trade Center. Bill's last words to his wife came over the cell phone not far from Ground Zero. "It's okay," he told her. "I'm with the firemen."
Biggart, a freelance photojournalist, was the only professional photographer to lose his life covering the disaster of September 11th.
Bill's story is not the only one to come out of the ashes of the collapse of the Twin Towers and the attack on the Pentagon-it's just the clearest example of the dangers photojournalists encounter every day while documenting history.
To pay tribute to those photographers who put themselves at risk, both physically and emotionally, while covering the September 11th disaster and aftermath, SP&D has pulled together images and stories from photojournalists on the scene only minutes after the first plane struck the building, along with those who stayed to document the devastation, tragedy, and untold resiliency that followed.
These are their words and images. - Dan Havlik
"I had seen these buildings every day from my window. To have them crumble, it's like ripping your heart out."
— STEVE MCCURRYMagnum photographer Steve McCurry was opening his mail in his office in downtown Manhattan near Washington Square Park when he heard the World Trade Center had been attacked.
"My assistant's mother called and said, "Look out your window." I did. And then I immediately grabbed my camera and ran up on the roof," McCurry recalled. "I have an unobstructed view of all of downtown from the top of my building."
What McCurry saw when he looked out on that unobstructed view was something he could never have imagined even in his worst nightmares—both towers of the Trade Center were in flames. Despite his shock, he did what he always did in difficult, yet newsworthy, situations—he started shooting pictures as fast as he could.
"Between the time I got up on my roof and the time the first tower collapsed was probably thirty or forty minutes. To see it actually come down was absolutely unbelievable, one of the worst things I've ever witnessed."
After the towers collapsed, McCurry and his assistant collected their equipment and began walking down to Ground Zero. Although police had already cordoned off the area, they were able to get through the barricades.