Photos from the LIFE collection depict Lower Manhattan in the decades before the Twin Towers became part of the New York City skyline+ READ ARTICLE
Just because it’s become a cliché doesn’t make it any less true: the world changed on 9/11. And nowhere was that change more profound or enduring than in New York City.
For some, the scale of the carnage in Lower Manhattan transformed all of New York, overnight, from a place they called home to a ruin they had to leave behind forever.
For countless others, the love we always had for New York only grew stronger after seeing the city so savagely attacked. Our connection to the town, and to other New Yorkers, suddenly had about it a sense of defiance, tempered by a kind of rough, unexpected tenderness: the metropolis that had always felt so huge and indomitable seemed, all of a sudden, painfully vulnerable. In need of protection. Our protection.
Here, we pay tribute to New York — specifically, to the storied landscape of Lower Manhattan, where 400 years ago New York was born — in photographs made in the decades before the Twin Towers anchored the foot of the island. Wall Street, Battery Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Trinity Church, the vast, shimmering harbor — they’re all here: landmarks that, despite everything, retain their place in the collective imagination, captured by some of the finest photographers of the 20th century.
See more of LIFE’s collection of New York City photography here, at LIFE.com: Where New York Was Born
But family says social media giant's apology was "half hearted"
Hudson Azera Bond is only two months old, but the infant is already fighting for his life. Diagnosed with a heart condition known as cardiomyopathy when he was just seven days old, Hudson needs a vital heart transplant, which his family is attempting to raise money for through a Facebook page called Hudson’s Heart. Hudson’s father, Kevin Bond, even attempted to boost traffic to the page — and the cause — by purchasing a $20 paid ad from the social networking site.
But Facebook initially rejected the ad, issuing a form response last weekend that deemed the accompanying photo of Hudson — who is hooked up to multiple machines and tubes — as “scary, gory, or sensational and evokes a negative response.” Unsurprisingly, the family was incredibly “hurt” by the company’s description of their son.
Facebook, which isn’t new to photo controversies, has since reversed the decision and a representative even called the Bond family to personally apologize. When questioned about the original decision, Facebook told Yahoo Health in a statement: “This was a mistake on our part, and the ad has been re-approved. We apologize for any inconvenience this caused the family.”
In a post on the Hudson’s Heart Facebook page, Kevin Bond, wrote on Wednesday:
“I read Facebook’s response on media outlets last night. They apologized for the inconvenience this caused my family. Inconvenience was never an issue. Having my beautiful Son compared to dismembered bodies, vampires, zombies, etcetera hurt me, and my family.
The ad in question was time sensitive. Reversing their decision days later fixes nothing. Further, the company still hasn’t contacted me directly. Had I not read their half hearted apology on the media I’d have no idea it existed.”
Meanwhile, the Bonds are still trying to raise money for Hudson’s heart transplant, which is likely to be one of many. “When you implant a heart into a kid this age, it’s not going to last,” Kevin told Yahoo. “By the time he’s in his 20s he will probably have had four transplants.”
Onlookers around the world got a breathtaking look at the third and last supermoon of 2014
From back to school to Burning Man, here's a handful of photos to get your weekend started right
If your reaction to the hack attack on celebrities is to blame them for taking nude photos, you're pointing the finger at the wrong person.
There have been a lot of reactions to the massive leak of nude photos of some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities, including actress Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton, after an anonymous user posted stolen images to image-sharing website 4chan. But one of the most mind-boggling reactions has come from the people who say, “If you don’t take nude photos, they can’t be stolen.”
This is not a fringe reaction. From Ricky Gervais to rapper RZA to many people across the internet, there seems to be a common idea that the horrible and humiliating invasion of these women’s privacy and the theft of their property is in some way their own fault. When Mary Elizabeth Winstead, one of the actresses who had naked images stolen, tweeted, “To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves,” this was one of the responses she received: “@M_E_Winstead Stop posing nude on camera, dummy. Your husband not know what you look like nude? #LessonLearned.”
Now, obviously, there is truth to this idea. A person can’t steal something that doesn’t exist. So if you don’t have nude photos, they can’t be stolen. Just like if you don’t have a car, it can’t be stolen. And if you don’t use a credit card, it can’t be compromised.
But that’s absurd, you might be saying. People need cars and they need to use credit cards, but no one needs to take nude photos of themselves. Despite the fact that neither cars, nor credit cards technically qualify as something we need, let’s parse this idea for a moment. In 2014, a huge part of our lives — working, shopping, socializing and dating — involves technology. From shopping history to credit card information to personal correspondence, digital devices store a stunning amount of personal and private information, making them an integral part of our culture. So it’s willfully naive to suggest that a person’s sex life should be kept wholly separate from that culture. Show me one person who can honestly say they’ve never taken or sent a suggestive photo, sext or email that they wouldn’t want splashed across the internet for millions to see, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t use or understand modern technology.
Yet taking nude photos — or having a car or using a credit card — isn’t the problem here. The problem is the hacking and the stealing, in this case of something immensely private. And it’s not only a problem, it’s a crime. It’s true that posting naked photos of people without their consent is still largely a gray area, legally speaking, which is why so many revenge porn sites have exploded across the internet in recent years. But hacking and stealing photos is definitely a crime; just ask Christopher Chaney, the man currently serving a 10-year sentence for stealing and posting nude images of Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis, among others.
So why are people so quick to point the fingers of blame at the women who are victims of the hack? It’s likely because it’s easy — far easier than blaming a culture that nurtures this kind of misogynist attack — and also because it makes people feel safe. After all, if you’re not the kind of person who would take nude photos then you’re not the kind of person who has to worry about this kind of invasive crime, right? Yet that kind of thinking doesn’t get at the root of the problem (i.e. the hacker and protecting our devices from similar attacks) and it certainly won’t help you when it’s not celebrities who are being targeted and it’s not nude photos that are being stolen. And until people cut out the victim-blaming and focus on the real culprits, we’re all just a little bit more vulnerable.
Fred Ritchin discusses the graphic display of war and suffering in the news
A recent slew of situations resulting in catastrophic violence and death, including the Israel-Gaza war, the armed expansion of the Islamic State, the downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane in the Ukraine, the ongoing conflict in Syria, and also the spread of the Ebola virus, has led to a renewed debate as to what kinds of imagery media outlets should be expected to show.
One argument is that editors working for mainstream outlets, and perhaps even photographers as well, are unethically withholding from readers certain horrific imagery of contemporary conflicts and disasters because of a fear of offending or shocking, or even from a fear that readers will abandon the publication altogether. In his new book, War Porn, photographer Christoph Bangert asks: “How can we refuse to acknowledge a mere representation—a picture—of a horrific event, while other people are forced to live through the horrific event itself?”
Kenneth Jarecke, author of an excruciating photograph of a horribly burned Iraqi soldier during the first Persian Gulf War that went largely unpublished, posed a similar question in American Photo magazine in 1991: “If we’re big enough to fight a war, we should be big enough to look at it.”
There is, concurrently, a fear by others that readers are seeing too many such images and, as a result, are losing their ability to empathize and evaluate what is going on in the avalanche of violence and destruction depicted. Some editors also assert that, as family publications, the added risk of traumatizing children argues against the publication of the most egregious imagery.
Professionals may be at risk as well. A recent, first-ever study concentrates on 116 journalists working in three international newsrooms who are repeatedly exposed to images of graphic violence via social media, much of it “deemed too shocking to be shown to audiences.” The study, led by Anthony Feinstein, MD, of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, concludes, as summarized by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, “that frequent, repetitive viewing of violent news-related video and other media raises news professionals’ vulnerability to a range of psychological injury, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
A debate over what to publish is, of course, somewhat anachronistic given the propensity of social media sites to publish nearly anything and everything, but relevant nonetheless, given that many professional photographers and picture editors continue to support an effort to witness and represent world events in a reasoned way. As the Guardian’s head of photography, Roger Tooth, recently wrote, “But, in the end, what right do I have as a picture editor to censor what people can see? It’s all out there on the internet or on your timeline. All I can do is try to help keep the Guardian’s coverage as humane and decent as possible.”
As for myself, I have also been torn by a different set of questions: Why shouldn’t we be able to view, in the supermarkets themselves, photographs and videos that depict the conditions in which chickens and cows are held—before we purchase their eggs, milk, and meat? And when we buy sweatshirts and sneakers shouldn’t there be photo essays available that explore the conditions in which these products are made, and by whom, so that we can make informed choices based in part upon the well-being of the workers in the factories? Or when we fill a prescription at the pharmacy, shouldn’t the lab monkeys and rats who suffered, often egregiously, to aid in the creation of these life-saving drugs be somehow pictured, at least as a mark of respect?
Why focus then on the imagery of war, but circumvent so much of the enormous day-to-day suffering among both humans and animals? Why, for example, is there no similar clamor to be confronted with the images of civilians and soldiers who, years later, must contend with their own chronic injuries that resulted from previous conflicts? Or why don’t we demand to see the faces of those politicians who sent the soldiers to war, and not only the victims of their policies?
I suspect that part of the answer as to why we have such a fascination with viewing large-scale violence is its contested, apocalyptic nature, as if a struggle for good against evil might be being played out before the camera, with elements of heroism, bravery, betrayal, and cowardice, and with winners and losers. Certainly war, with its arresting imagery of bombs exploding, landscapes transformed, and soldiers and civilians facing cataclysmic injury and sudden death, can be highly visible and, as a result, vividly photographable. War can be made to appear as a variegated spectacle, whereas a chicken placed in a cage so that is has no room to turn lacks the potential for incandescent visuals or for redemptive glory (and we are the ones eating those chickens and their eggs). And, of course, viewing animals kept in such conditions could be devastating for the marketing of industrial farming; especially when it happens to other people, war may stimulate the economy.
But I suspect that there is another very powerful reason why photographers, in particular, might clamor for others to see the worst of what they have experienced in wartime. Despite serious misgivings about invading the privacy of others, photographers have often maintained that they feel it necessary to witness and represent the deaths, calamitous injuries and grief that they discover in conflict situations, and in many cases have been asked to do so by those who are its victims. Once those pictures are made, however, the implicit contract is that they be transmitted and seen by others, especially by those who may have even a small chance of preventing such tragedies from continuing or from multiplying. If these pictures remain unpublished there may be a guilty sense that a promise, a redemptive one, has not been kept. The trauma of witnessing such devastation, and the powerlessness that may accompany it, can be more difficult to resolve if one is prevented from sharing what one has seen with others—the reason the photographer was there in the first place.
As for the readers, though, it may not always be doing them a service to burden them with one’s own most visceral sense of horror, at least not on a continual basis. Whereas a grieving mother in Gaza deserves the whole world’s attention, so too do the families of those who died in the Malaysian Airlines crash, as do Yazidi survivors who endured the terror of the Islamic State fighters while hiding on a mountaintop. Should a large number of those victimized by violence be confronted by a reader looking at one wrenching image after another, without sufficient political recourse to ameliorate the great majority of what is depicted, the larger world may seem so senseless and repugnant that the reader tries to disconnect—hardly the result that an eyewitness would want.
Personally I find that I cannot look at every image of disaster that is published, and I try not to. A memory of those killed in the Malaysian Airlines crash is powerfully within me; I do not need photographs of covered bodies or children’s toys to make the loss of their lives more searingly awful. I do not need to see every funeral from Gaza to imagine the abject, enduring void left by their loss. Nor do I need a picture to explain what it is like for the Yazidi to hide from armed men who are bent upon their further destruction, considering them heretics—thinking about their anguished solitude gives me nightmares enough.
But whether I look at these photographs or not their existence remains important; they provide reference points for both the present and the longer view of history. Whatever pictures I see, I can imagine so many that I have not looked at and so many more agonizing moments of private torment that will never be witnessed. Whatever publications show, I know that the ramifications of the pictures are probably much, much more complex than could be contained in the fractional second depicted. This awareness is also fueled by social media—one knows that the descent into hell takes many steps, and an increasing number of them can be found only a click or two away from what mainstream media presents.
There is no calculus to determine the most effective way to show horror. But certainly it would be important to investigate the processes that engender it, and not just the shocking results, no matter how visual. It would be also helpful to begin to try and trace alternatives to such catastrophes, and to provide examples of even partial resolutions. Then show those who must endure the traumas of war once the spectacle has faded—the physically and psychologically wounded, orphans, widows, parents left without children—and remember them in the years to come. And, finally, begin contemplating the best of the “photography of peace,” and not only that of war—the beauties of ceasefires, and of healing, and of some of the horrors that were prevented from happening.
Fred Ritchin is a professor at NYU and co-director of the Photography & Human Rights program at the Tisch School of the Arts. His latest book, Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen, was published by Aperture in 2013
Ten years after the Beslan school siege, photographer Diana Markosian made these remarkable photographs of former hostages at the site where 330 captives were killed, more than half of them children.
They were dressed in their best, little girls in spotless white ruffled pinafores and boys in freshly pressed dress shirts buttoned to the collar. It was September 1, 2004, the start of school, a cause for celebration throughout Russia.
When the first shots were fired, 11-year-old Zarina Albegava mistook them for fireworks. She is 21 now, but still has trouble talking about what happened next.
“I don’t want to remember,” she says.
Albegava, her sister Zalina, nine, and around 1,200 others were taken hostage during a back to school celebration in Beslan, in the Russian republic of North Ossetia. Two days later around 330 of them were dead, more than half of them children. Zalina was one of the dead.
It was the worst terrorist attack Russia had ever seen, a gruesome footnote to the two wars that Chechnya fought for independence in the 1990s. Even after Russia finally subjugated the Muslim republic in 2000 and installed a loyal warlord to control it, the conflict continued in the form of an Islamist insurgency whose fighters have staged suicide bombings as far afield as Moscow for years. Beslan is considered one of the conflict’s greatest travesties against the innocent. But a decade later the world has moved on. Residents of this little North Caucasus town have not, partly because important questions remain unanswered: How many terrorists escaped? What caused the explosion that lead to the storming of the school?
It was this sense of loss and longing for answers that attracted documentary photographer Diana Markosian to Beslan. Of Armenian heritage, Markosian, who is 25, often confronts the lingering effects of loss in her work, especially childhood losses. Markosian lost her own father and country, in a way, at seven when her mother moved her and her brother from Russia to Santa Barbara, and their father remained in Moscow. They never talked about her father after that and it was 15 years before she saw him again. When a Beslan survivor told her about the split of his life into “before” and “after” she understood.
“When I was separated from my dad, that’s exactly what happened, I had this experience of being torn apart from the life I had always known,” she tells TIME.
Having spent her early childhood in Armenia and Russia, Markosian also understood the significance of September 1. She still has the yellow and green Bambi backpack her father gave her for her first day of second grade. She hadn’t seen him in weeks, but he was there for the first day of school, holding hands with her mother and brother as they all walked to school.
As a young journalist in Moscow, Markosian passed through Beslan regularly en route to Chechnya. Sometimes she stopped at the school. It served as a monument to the siege, a battle-scarred structure filled with uncapped water bottles the children probably needed desperately during captivity. The hostages were corralled in an airless gym booby-trapped with explosives. For most, there was no water or food after the first day. On the second day the Chechen-speaking captors demanded Russia begin to remove its troops from Chechnya. On the third day there was an explosion and Russian forces stormed the building. In the ensuing firefight only one of 30 or so terrorists was captured alive, later sentenced to life imprisonment.
The shadow of Beslan followed Markosian until she decided to revisit the tragedy through her work. She arrived, she says, looking for the remains, “the direct aftermath of the event.”
She found children’s drawings.
They showed her what she couldn’t capture in photos, drawings of their dead fathers. The men were the first to be killed. Around 20 were shot execution style in a room where Russian literature was once taught. The corpses of fathers who had come to celebrate their children’s first day of school were thrown out the window and left to rot in the sun.
“I wanted this body of work to be collaboration,” says Markosian. “This is their story, their experience, and I wanted them to take part in it.”
Markosian had been resisting the constraints of traditional photojournalism, the distance between subject and photographer. The brutal, simple pictures made by the children in the tragedy’s aftermath combined with her own images allowed her to bridge the gap. Images of barely clothed men, women and children holding bottled water remain as unchanged as the rooms they inhabit in Markosian’s photographs, rooms decorated with bullet holes and peeling paint. On a picture of a sixth grade class she has the survivors write messages to their deceased classmates.
The children, now young adults, journeyed with her back to the school, sometimes for the first time since the tragedy. In silence, with their eyes shut, they remembered. Then they shared those memories with Markosian: the window through which their mother was shot, the spot next to them where their sister died, the classroom where they studied.
Markosian captures the survivors’ visual discomfort at being trapped in a place they have never been able to escape through portraits taken in the school. Other shots show the artifacts the dead left behind, a new shoe, a bloodied undershirt, a child’s untouched bedroom. For Beslan time has not provided resolution.
“The idea that time heals does not hold true for these families,” says Markosian. “Time heals? No, it doesn’t.”
Diana Markosian is a photographer based in Chechnya. Her previous photo essay, also published on TIME LightBox, Inventing My Father will be exhibited at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland in January 2015. See more of her work on her website.
Katya Cengel is a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @kcengel.