New York, NY
Photographer: Stuart Thurlkill
Every year, 100 photojournalists from across the country converge on Eddie Adams' farm in Jeffersonville, New York to participate in a four day workshop. During their time students interact with the best photographers and photo editors in the business, getting hands-on instruction and inspiration while they work on a photo essay.
The year I attended, instead of having the students turn their lens on Jeffersonville, the Eddie Adams Workshop turned us loose in Manhattan on the one-year anniversary of September 11. The assignment? To come back with images that celebrated New York City. We were put into 10 groups, each led by an industry veteran. Our team leader was Stephen Wilkes who encouraged me to seize the opportunity of my assignment. I was the only student assigned to Ground Zero. Our group of photographers created an incredible collection of pictures capturing the culture, life and spirit of New York City. Ultimately the images where produced into a book titled NYC Life Going On.
The experience of being apart of this unique remembrance of 9/11 has had a profound affect on me. I learned of the tenacious spirit and resilience of the people of New York and I learned what it means to be an empathetic journalist, photographer and storyteller.
My first look at New York City was from the roof of a skyscraper that overlooked Ground Zero. It absolutely took my breath away to see the empty space where two enormous buildings once lived.
As the first light of day shined down upon the growing memorial, bagpipers from each of New York's five borough's marched into the City from different directions.
Make shift memorials and lists of victims names filled the streets. The collective sense of grief felt that day was only overshadowed by a stronger feeling that we would never forget those that tragically died and risked their lives on that terrible September day.
Thousands of origami cranes sent to Ground Zero from around the world following the attack on September 11, 2001 covered the fences and walls surrounding the site.
Part of our coverage focused on civil servants who gave so much during the rescue and recovery of the wounded. Today I want to especially remember the 366 brave men, women and service animals that ran into the fire and crumbling towers in an attempt to save others lives.
Two New York police officers comfort one another as the names of September 11th victims are read out during the first year memorial service at Ground Zero.
After photographing at Ground Zero, I was then assigned to document several cultural aspects of New York City. One topic of particular interest led me to a mosque where I met three boys who were going through their afternoon prayers. The people from the mosque were rightfully cautious with my presence but embraced me with hospitality.
We will never forget.
In the early morning I was at the top of a skyscraper looking down over Ground Zero. As I made my way to the ground floor of the building I found this mural of the twin towers and decided to make portraits of those who despite the tragedy were continuing on with their lives in New York.
Photography by: Stuart Thurlkill : Stuart Thurlkill Studios
Corporate + Advertising + Fashion + Marketing + Editorial Photography
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