AFTERMATH: Images from 9/11
September 10, 2021—April 3, 2022
“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.”
– JOEL MEYEROWITZ
AFTERMATH: Images from 9/11 documents the devastation and reconstruction of the World Trade Center through images by Joel Meyerowitz—the sole photographer to be given unimpeded access to Ground Zero in the wake of 9/11. As such, the 40 deeply moving images in this extraordinary collection, drawn from Meyerowitz’s archives, are the only existing photographic account of the attacks.
During the late summer of 2001, the photographer Joel Meyerowitz was working in Provincetown, Massachusetts, preparing for an exhibition of photographs of lower Manhattan, taken from the window of his loft studio on 19th Street. These panoramas of the cityscape were punctuated with the distinctive profile of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. On September 11, Meyerowitz watched in shock and disbelief as this view— and the entire world—changed forever.
Since the invention of the medium in 1839, photography has always given us the immediacy and urgency of a situation, possessing that power to record historical events and preserve those moments in time. Like the great Civil War photographer Mathew Brady, who recounted his first trip to Manassas, Virginina, and the Battle of Bull Run, “I had to go.” That same urgency compelled Meyerowitz to immediately return to New York. By the next morning he was at Ground Zero grab his Leica and rush to Ground Zero.
Through sheer persistence involving almost daily acts of resourcefulness and defiance, Meyerowitz became the sole photographer to have continued access to the site and document its transformation over the next nine months from a place of total devastation to cleared bedrock. After more than fifty years of taking pictures, Joel Meyerowitz has been recognized as one of the most influential street photographers and a pioneer of the New Color photography movement.