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September 11 iconic images

Using their cameras as a buffer, these photographers captured what would become iconic images of the September 11 tragedy in New York.


Ed Bailey, File - Associated Press

This Aug. 11, 1998 file photo shows Associated Press photographer Marty Lederhandler outside The Associated Press headquarters at 50 Rockefeller Plaza in New York.


On Sept. 11, 2001, Marty Lederhandler knew the real story was downtown. But he also knew that the trains weren’t going that way, and his 84-year-old legs wouldn’t carry him that far. “If there’s obstacles in your path, you try some other way,” he had said in an interview. “You go behind. You go in back. You go up high.” Lederhandler took the elevator to the 65th floor and the famed Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which he knew would offer a stunning view of the Empire State Building and the Twin Towers beyond, and began shooting. “The only other story that compares to this is D-Day,” said Lederhandler, who died in March 2010 at the age of 92. “In a way … it’s a fitting end to my career with The Associated Press _ covering the biggest story that ever happened in New York.”

Associated Press

Marty Lederhandler, File - Associated Press

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, the twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building in New York.


Carolyn Kaster - Associated Press

In this Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 picture, former Associated Press photographer, Doug Mills, currently with the New York Times, stands for a photograph in the colonnade at the White House in Washington.


Sept. 11, 2001, started out like most days covering President George W. Bush on the road. It was only after Mills and other journalists boarded Air Force One and began watching the live CNN news feed that the full import of that morning’s schoolroom event came into focus. A visit that had started out as a routine “photo-op,” was now a moment in history.

Associated Press

Doug Mills, File - Associated Press

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, Chief of Staff Andy Card whispers into the ear of President George W. Bush to give him word of the plane crashes into the World Trade Center, during a visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla.


Bernadette Tuazon - Associated Press

This October 2008 picture shows Associated Press photographer Richard Drew on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York.


While editing his photographs from Sept. 11, 2001 on a large screen back at the office, one image stood out: A man in black pants and a white jacket, one leg bent as he plummeted headfirst from the north tower. Of all the images from that day, it is one of the least often republished. Drew thinks he knows why. “I think people react to it, because they can relate to that it might be them,” says Drew, who still has the blood-flecked jacket he was wearing the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated. “And I guess they can relate to it too much.”

Associated Press

Bebeto Matthews, File - Associated Press

FILE - In this Thursday, July 20, 2006 file picture, Associated Press photographer Richard Drew, left, shows Richard Pecorella a picture of a jumper from the 2001 World Trade Center disaster in New York. Pecorella has spent years searching for an image he says will bring him peace: a photograph that proves his fiancee, Karen F. Juday, jumped to her death from the burning World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.


Richard Drew - Associated Press

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 file picture, a person falls headfirst from the north tower of New York’s World Trade Center.


Sergio Lopez - Associated Press

This May 2010 photo by Sergio Lopez shows Gulnara Samoilova.


On Sept. 11, 2001, Gulnara Samoilova’s apartment was just four blocks from the World Trade Center. She grabbed her camera and a handful of film, and headed into the street. She was standing right beneath the south tower, its smoking vertical bulk filling her 85mm lens. She saw the tower begin to crumble and got off one more shot before someone nearby screamed, “RUN!” The force of the collapse “was like a mini-earthquake,” and she was knocked off her feet. People began trampling her. “I was afraid I would die right there,” the 46-year-old photographer says. She got up just as the cloud was about to envelop her. She dove behind a car and crouched. Like “a strong wind,” the storm of debris rocked the car, filling her eyes, mouth, nose and ears with the tower’s pulverized remains. She gasped for breath. “It was very dark and silent,” she says. “I thought I was buried alive.” Suddenly, she could hear the fluttering of thousands of pieces of paper. She had survived. As she looked down Fulton Street, other survivors began limping out of the mist. She stepped out from behind the car and began shooting.

Associated Press

Gulnara Samoilova, File - Associated Press

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, people covered in dust walk over debris near the World Trade Center in New York.

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