In Memoriam


I had just returned from Tibet the night before. I had not unpacked my luggage or camera bag. Shortly after nine o’clock when I heard of the attack, I went up on the roof of my apartment building and watched both towers billowing smoke.


I photographed the second tower collapsing at 10:28 AM. After shooting from the top of my building, I walked down to Ground Zero at noon, and stayed until late that night when all my film was gone, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave.


Later,  as I walked back home, I was struck at how life slowly seemed to come back to near normal the further you walked away from Ground Zero. It was strange listening to conversations of people who seemed to be unaware of the magnitude of this incredible event. I wanted to go up and shake people and say, “Don’t you realize that this is probably the most important day in your life?’”


This is a photograph on the morning of September 12th, of search-and-rescue teams.


View of the lobby of Two World Financial Centre


I was amazed by the vast amount of office paper and dust all over lower Manhattan.

33 Responses to “In Memoriam”

  1. Impressive shots…….congrats..

  2. I am huge fan of Mr McCurry’s work. (and have all o f his books!;-) and one of his prints on my wall.

    Regarding 9/11, I live in NYC and lived through the day, not far from the WTC when it happened. it is painfully obvious, yet inescapable to conclude that these events (observed events) could only have been achieved through the use of pre-planted explosives. Trust me, I know just how far fetched that sounds, but we cannot ignore the facts or explain them satisfactorily in any other way.

    Although this can be a highly complex subject there is a short list of facts that clearly reveal the use of explosives. Like, the speed and symmetry in the destruction of wtc 1,2&7, the explosiveness of 1&2 which resulted in 1100 missing bodies, 1400 people blast to small bits (200 DNA test matched a single individual, many families got back ONLY small bits of bone -some found blocks away) (and still, 1100 people unaccounted for, only 70 of 343 firefighter were recovered), the pulverized concrete, 30 foot multi-ton beams and wall assemblies blasted hundreds of feet, disassembled superstructures (the cores) in these ‘highly redundant’ structures, depositing the bulk of their contents out side footprints of the Towers in 800 foot radial debris fields, the squibs, wtc7’s 6.5 second implosion (most Americans have never even heard of) at 5:20p that afternoon, the residual heat, with 99 day underground fires (would not go out for over 3 mos!) with surface temperatures at Ground Zero of up to 2800F (recorded by Bechtel)

    You can see the explosions clearly in a video from CNN and used by physics teacher Mr David Chandler called. North Tower Exploding (, the administration’s reluctance to even seriously investigate this, or form a Commission (took almost 2 years!), NIST’s shameful behavior.
    And now we also have the results of a nearly 2 year, peer-reviewed, scientific study done at Copenhagen University which discovered high-tech aluminothermic (nano-composite engineered) explosives in every dust sample they tested. See: Active Thermitic Material Found in the Dust of the WTC Catastrophe. Even without that, it is obvious these were no standard uncontrolled hydrocarbon fires. (jet fuel is refined kerosene, nothing more)

    Remember the N Tower was hit around the 95th floor, just 10 stories from the roof, the top of any building is lightest part, as the building gets much stronger the lower down one goes. There is simply no way gravity could account for observed events; it is completely counter intuitive.

    all of that aside, Thank you Mr McCurry for being such an inspiration.

    albert lucientes nyc
    just set this up:
    some of my recent street snaps:

  3. Wonderful when I see your pictures really inspired me, you are my reference as a photographer congratulations for all these amazing works.
    Visit my blog too.

  4. Got up to go to work, turned on the Morning Show. I saw the planes, I woke up my wife…I called my mom. Remember telling her that this was like something out of the Bible, and being myself, not especially religious. Words fail…the pictures do not. We see here what you saw, we remember from what we saw, and it connects us and all we feel. We are human beyond our feeble words.

  5. well ! . very good . dear stev !.

  6. I remember this day vividly.

    I was at sunderland university, I passed a lot of people looking at a TV, a friend shouted me in, I remember the harrowing look on their faces, what’s up I said, no one answered, my friend pointed to the TV, I watched with the same disbelief.

    To this day I can see that little huddle of people, a constant reminder, every time I see or hear the phrase “911”.

  7. Nothing is equal in the world since 9/11… nothing
    That gap between the skyscrapers at ground zero is a memory for all and forever.
    Thanks Steve for all the images that remain in my heart and soul

  8. What incredible images of a horrible day we will never forget.

    Your work is amazing.

  9. Looking at these images – 9 years later – still sends chills down my spine. Amazing that you had the forethought to pick-up your camera in that moment. History recorded and preserved!!!

  10. Dear Steve,

    I just love all your photograph..makes me feel to be there

  11. Andrew Conte Says:

    Dear Steve,
    Your incredible will keep the horid memory alive for everyone. Everytime I look at them it seems as though it was just yesterday.
    Thank you for being the wonderful photojournalist that you are.
    I am a photojournalism major and can only hope that my work will be half as good as your work. your use of light on your subjevts is juas incredibll.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration for those of us that will be following in your footsteps.

  12. I’m feeling so sad when I see those pictures.

    Thank you Steve for being there at the right place with your “special vision”.

  13. I still, after nine years, can’t truly take in what it must have been like to have been there. I don’t even live in the US. I barely moved from my sofa for 3 days, watching it all unfold on CNN, and then had the same reaction when I had to go to the supermarket, I couldn’t understand how people could be standing in the aisles laughing and joking about stuff, as if nothing of this magnitude had happened. Your pictures are remarkable. It must have been so hard to do, and yet the rest of us had to know what was happening. It was important. I live near an airport, and for a couple of years afterwards I would sometimes see a plane at a certain angle and images of that day would flash across my brain – so to actually have seen it, been there? I just can’t imagine.

  14. Steve….Thank you very much for posting these amazing pictures. Livingon the west coast, I will never forget waking up that morning and turning on the TV and seeing the horrible news. Thank you for this great post.

  15. […] داده بودم، به مناسبت سالروز ۱۱ سپتامبر عکس‌هایی رو منتشر کرده و توضیح داده که اون روز کجا بوده و چی کار […]

  16. Andrew Kirkby Says:


    Thankyou for posting these images.

    I was quite a lot younger then – still at high school.

    I was watching TV here in Sydney in the early hours of the morning while cutting some freshly dried negatives and the channel just cut to the second plane going into the tower. I had no idea what was going on. I jumped on the computer and the internet had crashed under the extreme load of traffic. I attended school the following day and the feeling among everyone was the most strange thing i have ever felt in my entire life to date. Words can’t describe that emotion and thinking back to that time i feel quite uneasy.

    To my dear friends in the United States, my thoughts are with you on this day.

    Andrew Kirkby
    Sydney, Australia

  17. I remember the annoyance of being waken up early from bed on a workday by panicked family. And then the fear I felt when I turned on the tv… It was hard to imagine the scene could possibly be real. You are brave to have visited ground zero on that day. But of course you show us many things through your photographs most of us would fear to visit or see. Thank you for that.

  18. E’ difficile, forse impossibile dimenticare dove eravamo quel giorno dell’11 settembre 2001.
    Ricordo ogni istante di quei terribili minuti;quello che facevo e le persone che mi circondavano.
    Sono stati minuti che hanno segnato le nostre vite anche se eravamo dall’altra parte dell’oceano.

    And ‘difficult, perhaps impossible to forget where we were that day of 11 September 2001.
    I remember every moment of those terrible minutes, what I did and the people around me.
    Were minutes that have marked our lives even if we were across the ocean (google translator).

    • Sai che pensavo la stessa cosa proprio l’altro giorno?
      Avevo 13 anni, prima liceo, e avevo il mio Nokia 3330 con le notizie di cronaca della Tim che mi arrivavano tutti i giorni. Stavo andando in camera mia quando me ne arriva uno: “Attacco al World Trade Center”, allora nemmeno sapevo cosa fosse il World Trade Center. Poco dopo accesi la TV, capii subito. Ne parlavano ovunque, stentavo a credere alle prime immagini che già circolavano. Da gelare il sangue nelle vene.

      Mentre leggevo questo post ho rivissuto secondo per secondo quei momenti, vidi queste foto nei giorni successivi senza sapere che fossero di Steve, senza sapere che l’avrei incontrato di persona un giorno quando era ormai già diventato il mio idolo.

      Do you know that I was thinking the same thing just the other day?
      I was 13, first year of high school, and I had my Nokia 3330 with the breaking news on it every day. I was going to my room when I read a message: “Attack at the World Trade Center”, I did not even know what the World Trade Center was, at that time. Shortly after I turned the TV on, I immediately understood. They were talking about that everywhere, I could hardly believe the first images that were already circulating. My blood run cold.

      As I was reading this post I relived those moments second by second, I saw these pictures in the following days without knowing that Steve took them, without knowing that I’d met him in person one day when he already was my idol.

  19. Excellent photos. From a perspective I’ve never seen before! Have you shared them anywhere else before now? Any others?

  20. I was a freshman getting ready that morning for high school when my Mother turned the news on in my room and told me what happened. My Father worked 1 block away from the World Trade Center and was unable to get out until after the second building was hit. He reached home successfully, but it was a horrible tragedy that shouldn’t have ever happened!

  21. Each time I look back, I feel bad about the day. It was one od the darkest days of humanity.

  22. Hi Steve,

    It’s a miserable day in US and world history which took lives of so many innocent civilians. I don’t know the motive behind this but I am sure that no one can ever justify this act. Unfortunately US led attack on Iraq and Afghanistan did the same and this time not only civilians suffered but a lot of soldiers given their lives too. This battle is still ON and only God knows when it is going to end and how many more lives it will take.

    Read about a pastor from Florida who is going to burn Koran on this day, I don’t think it has anything to do with Koran or Islam, May God give him enough insight to leave out this act.

    May everyone live in harmony…


  23. This day will never be forgotten. Ever.

  24. Dear Steve

    I was in my office here in italy that day having a brief with my boss when someone told us waht happens. I can’t stay on my legs i saw the horror on tv, all that dust, all that people that jump from the tower. I will never forget what had happened. The distance haven’t mitigate the pain.


  25. Excellent photos.

  26. Important day for everyone all over the world. These are unforgettable pictures.

  27. Incredible pictures for an incredible event. Thanks to you and James Nachtwey to have been there to report.
    Not sure the world improved since, though.

  28. Respected Steve,
    It’s a pain full day for all of us. Nobody will be able to forget this. Nice pictures.
    Apratim Saha.

  29. Hi Steve,
    you know what? I sometimes feel like I have to take people and shake them like that even today. Many of us totally don’t get the place that that day holds in modern history, even without considering all the theories that were made about who knew what and stuff… Now it seems like it’s just a matter of winning a war (or letting people think that) and place a damn flag, forgetting about the reasons that brought USA and Europe (I’m italian) out there.

    Sorry for my english:)

    Awesome pictures, as always.

    Thank you very much,


  30. Dear Steve,

    I still remember the day vividly as I watched on TV in horror with my colleagues how the second tower collapsed. May all those who perished in this truly sad event rest in peace.


  31. A horrible event. I will always remember.

  32. Dear Steve,

    indeed this an amazing day, it seems unreal to me at that time. Even now the pictures keep me thinking where all this is going to lead….


    Jos Runarka

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