9/11 Photographer Captures Intimate Moments of Attack's Aftermath

Sep 10, 2015

It's been 14 years since we were glued to the television, watching those riveting images of planes flying into the World Trade Center, and the towers collapsing into dust. One photographer living near Boston at the time was troubled by those repeating images, and drove to Manhattan to capture what he says is the human toll of the attacks.

Dave Gordon now lives in Sarasota, but those days he spent in New York in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks sticks in his mind. He snapped dozens of photos that frame a more intimate image than those of buildings collapsing. They're of candlelight vigils. An empty hospital gurney in front of a subway stop. Ashes from the destroyed Twin Towers drifting on a door stoop. He says something was missing from national media coverage just after the attacks.

"It was a sense of solemnity," he says. "Before 9-11, when they had no news to report, they put on commentators and re-rolled footage of the accident. And that creates an incredible sense of threat - people speculating about what might be the next terrorist attack. It's not accurate to what was happening in New York."

This was as close as Dave Gordon could get to Ground Zero
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Gordon hopes other people will see in these intimate images what he saw back in 2001.

The display at the John F. Germany libary
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

"I hope it gives them a sense of peace," he says. "It's meant to be... not a shocking show, not a dramatic review of history. But to be really comforting in a way that people were to each other in New York. So I'm trying to do for other people what my trip to New York did for me."

His exhibit is called "And Then There Was Quiet: New York After the Attacks.” It will be on display at the John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa through the end of September.

Ashes from the destroyed Twin Towers drift on a doorstep
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News