The World Trade Center was the crown jewel of my neighborhood - almost every walk I took brought me through it. I went to the bank there, I bought my bread there, and, once or twice, on a warm summer night, I kissed a girl there, standing by the Hudson River with the massive towers patiently glimmering over our heads.
My neighborhood was good, it was safe; I felt privileged to live in Tribeca. As I slept on September 10, I could never have dreamed the next day the world would change, thousands would lose their lives down the street from me, and I would be put out of my home as a war refugee.
I awoke that morning to a phone call - the buildings were on fire. I flipped on the TV and saw the video of the airplane as I quickly dressed, then I grabbed my camera and went outside. It was chaos- fear, confusion, bewilderment, people everywhere. Watching the disaster unfold, I tried to minimize it in my mind. They'll get out, I hoped....but after just a few minutes, the reality set in. It became worse and worse, and as I walked closer to the Towers, general panic increased. Suddenly, I was caught in a stampeding crowd screaming, "Run! Run!" as they raced away from the buildings. Even the police had fear on their faces.
When the first Tower collapsed, something told me to just hold my camera over my head and shoot. I'm still surprised the pictures came out at all, because I hadn't set the exposure or focused the lens.
After the disaster, for two months I worked with a Red Cross program making hot meals at a local restaurant for the Ground Zero rescue workers. During that time, many people who saw my 3D slides were moved by the immersive quality and wanted to own them, which inspired me to print an edition of antique stereoscope-format cards. When I wasn't working in the kitchen, I was at my computer scanning and retouching the photographs that make up these 12 views.
Should I make a profit from the sale of these pictures, I plan to donate a portion of it to The Bowery Mission, a non-profit organization providing food and shelter to homeless Americans in downtown New York City. If you receive this set as a gift, please consider making a donation to a hunger-related charity. Thank you.
Brian Loube, 12/01