Everyone has a story from September 11, 2001. I was a recent college graduate working at The New York Times Magazine. I heard the first plane hit Tower 2 from my apartment in downtown Manhattan, about a mile north of the World Trade Center. I was on my way to the magazine’s office in Times Square when the second tower was struck. I worked all week closing a special edition of the magazine dedicated to the tragedy. The world changed. I grew up. Life was forever altered.
In 2011, my first full year at TIME, I wanted to produce something powerful to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I wanted the focus to be on the narrative arc of the entire decade, rather than solely on the day itself. I pitched a portfolio that would be a series of portraits and video interviews, beginning with individuals whose lives were intimately touched by 9/11 and moving forward in time to include several people who played a role in the aftershocks of the attack: the mother of the first American soldier killed in the Iraq war, the flight attendant who wrestled the shoe bomber, and the admiral who led the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden.
I assigned the project to Marco Grob, an exceptional and technically innovative photographer who was experimenting with video portraits at the time. We photographed and recorded video "oral histories" of 37 men and women; I personally interviewed former President George W. Bush. We published the resulting portfolio across every platform at our disposal, including an entire issue of TIME, an HBO documentary, an Emmy award-winning digital microsite with 45 videos, a hardcover book, and a museum exhibition. The video oral histories now reside in the collection of the 9/11 Museum, and a selection of the photographs are in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.
The gallery on this page represents the 42-page portfolio published in TIME, with accompanying text in the subjects' own words.
To see how the project was interpreted for other platforms, visit the MULTIMEDIA section of this website.