Joe McNally | 9/11

Joe McNally | 9/11


Joe McNally worked on a portrait project that was featured on the front page of the Arts section of the Times on Nov. 1. Joe initiated the project with funding from AOL/Time Warner. Here’s Joe’s description of the project:

“The idea I proposed, in short, was to use the world’s only giant Polaroid camera (it is a room size camera) to create a cross section of portraits of people whose lives had intersected the trade center tragedy, and render them in life size portraits. These are not blow ups. What results 90 seconds after you make the exposure is a one of a kind positive print of the subject that measures about 42″ x 105”. The lens on the camera is from a U2 spy plane, and is about 50 years old. At around f45, my depth of field was about 1 inch. We used about 30,000 watt seconds of strobe.

“272 people, 5 dogs, and one tortoise came to the studio, including Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was our last official photo subject. We ran the studio around the clock, photographing detectives coming from sifting evidence at Fresh Kills at 3:30 am, construction crews coming in trucks straight from the site, iron workers coming off every conceivable shift. There’s a bed in the studio, and I lived there for 3 weeks.

“The project has come to be dubbed the Ground Zero Portrait Project, or is referred to as such in the coming LIFE books. I also included a couple of photojournalists. David Handschuh of the Daily News came with his crutches, bag of dusty, ripped clothes, and a 16×20 of his explosion pic. Tom Franklin of the Bergen Record came with his gear and a large print of his flag pic. Also Ethan Moses, a student photog and photo editor of the Stuyvesant High School paper, came with a copy of the publication, and his cameras. He got a heckuva shot.”

Joe was on Good Morning America on Nov. 5, as well as with Paula Zahn on CNN.

He spoke at length with Frank Von Riper who runs the photo column at the Washington Post website, and ET and Extra! are planning pieces. And he will be doing a bunch of radio as well, inc. the Bill Mazer show on Monday (Nov 5) afternoon.

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