"No photographs buddy! This is a crime scene."

Joel Meyerowitz, the only photographer at Ground Zero remembers the days after September 11



As the world gears up for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, photographer Joel Meyerowitz, the only photographer granted access to ground zero in the days following the atrocity, has been telling Phaidon about his recollections of that day and its aftermath. 

Meyerowitz had to fight his way into the site, and was repeatedly moved on by police officers, but stood his ground to create the most compelling collection of photographs by a single photographer documenting the attacks. They have just been published in a commemorative edition of Aftermath, a book of 400 colour photographs from the World Trade Center site taken in the months following the attacks.

"I was making photographs for everyone who didn't have access to the site," Meyerowitz told Phaidon. "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.

"The nine months I worked at Ground Zero were among the most rewarding of my life. I came in as an outsider, a witness bent on keeping the record, but over time I began to feel a part of the very project I'd been intent on recording. The intense camaraderie I experienced at Ground Zero inspired me, changing both my sense of myself and my sense of responsibility to the world around me. September 11th was a tragedy of almost unfathomable proportions. But living for nine months in the midst of those individuals who faced that tragedy head-on, day after day, and did what they could to set things right, was an immense privilege."

Some of Joel's photos from the book will be included in the 9/11 memorial museum which opens next year. They're also on show at the Miami Art Museum until November 6. If you plan to be in New York this weekend, you can hear Joel speak more of his experiences at a public event Joel Meyerowitz: Remembering 9/11 10 Years Later at Buttenwieser Hall, 92nd St (Sunday 7.30pm, September 11). Click here for tickets.



Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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