After Before

In September 2000, I was living next to East River overlooking Manhattan, in Dumbo, Brooklyn. One evening I decided to photograph the Twin Towers, which I had not done before. It felt like something you should do when being a photographer living in NYC. I had found a promising spot under Manhattan bridge where they parked delivery trucks. I brought the tallest ladder I could find in the loft on Jay Street where I was living. When the negative returned from processing, I remembered that I was not happy with the image. It was dull and lacked something, so I put it away, not thinking much about it.

A year later, the World Trade Center was gone, and the world as we knew it gradually went down with it. Growing up in the seventies and eighties, the Cold War was an ever-present threat. During the nineties, the world evolved into a more peaceful place, and there were no conflicts on a global scale. All that changed on September 11 2001, when the war on Terror started. A few years later, I was in Puerto Rico. I noticed that the airplanes came in very low over a residential area close to the airport in San Juan. I visited the residential area to take photographs of the approaching planes. After walking around for ten minutes, a policeman on a motorcycle approached me. Soon he was joined by other policemen that brought me to the nearby police station because somebody wanted to talk to me; after waiting for what felt like an eternity, three Americans showed up and showed their FBI badges.

One night in 2001, I was driving around Lower Manhattan. It was March, and six months had passed since the towers fell, and they had just lifted the barriers around Ground Zero. The rain was pouring down, and turning a corner, the whole shy came to light. The floodlights were lighting the giant pit that was Ground Zero. I parked the car and placed myself and the camera under a scaffolding to shelter from the rain.