Revisiting Faces of Ground Zero

Revisiting Faces of Ground Zero

Fourteen years after the events of September 11, 2001, downtown New York is bustling. The World Trade Center is filled with Condé Nast employees, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is bustling, and the area is once again filled with residents and businesses alike.

I’m not one to harp on the past, but as someone who lived two blocks from the Twin Towers, this day always brings a little bit of trepidation.

Joe McNally spent hours near Ground Zero at his own cost to capture portraits of various workers – firemen, paramedics, clergy, and more – the heroes who gave so willingly in the face of adversity. At this point, his Faces of Ground Zero is not new, but it’s worth revisiting.


Joe made 246 giant Polaroids in the weeks following 9/11 and his hope is to find them a permanent home at the Memorial Museum. In Joe’s words:

The collection is over 20,000 pounds of framed images, and has been in museum quality storage for a decade. Storing them, moving them and displaying them is hugely expensive. When shown, they require UV protective glass. Crating them and shipping them is a major effort.

In short, tending to this collection, keeping it together, and preserved is a large task, and a costly one that is far beyond the resources of one freelance photographer. If you are of a mind to donate, please do so. The money will go to the preservation of the images, and their handling and transfer to the 9/11 Museum, under whose care and auspices they will reside.



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Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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