As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks is less than 2 weeks away now, there has been a lot of 9/11-themed content on the Internet as of late. For its part, Yahoo News has been running a series of articles dealing with specific people who were involved in one of America’s darkest days, namely where they are now and how they look back on the events of 10 years ago.
Up today: a photographer whose images, perhaps more than any others, captured a truly horrific choice faced by many people trapped above the jet impact sites: jump or be burned alive.
On September 11, 2001, veteran press photographer Richard Drew got off of a subway near the twin towers at about quarter past 9am, only to find them billowing smoke. Being a news photographer, Drew reached for his camera, a Nikon-Kodak DCS620 (a true Frankenstein of a camera), and started snapping pictures of what was one of the first major news stories of the digital era, focusing on the top stories of the buildings.
Not long after he started shooting, Drew saw that some people were actually jumping out of the windows, hundreds of feet to their deaths below, in preference to being burned alive. “I just started photographing people as they were falling,” Drew recalled.
By the time the towers had fallen, the images captured by Drew and other photographers of people jumping to their deaths had been flashed all over the world on television and the then rapidly-expanding Internet for all to see. However, of all the images captured that day, it is one of Drew’s pictures that is the one people remember more than all the others.
Called the ‘falling man,’ the image shows an unidentified man (numerous attempts have been made to I.D. him, all without any certain results) diving to his death completely upside down and vertical, save for a bent legs in a position that many have described as rather serene given the terrible truth behind the picture.
In the years since 9/11, Drew, now 64, has continued his work as a photojournalist, traveling all over the world in the quest to capture on camera the latest in breaking news.
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