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Photo Series Documents 51 Years of The World Trade Center Site

Photo Series Documents 51 Years of The World Trade Center Site

Photo Series Documents 51 Years of The World Trade Center Site 1

Photographer Camilo José Vergara has created a set of 52 images that pay homage to the victims of the September 11, 2001 Attack on New York City, by looking back at the site over the course of the last 51 years.

The series is being released as the 20th anniversary of the attacks approaches in the coming weeks.

Camilo José Vergara is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost urban documentarians and was honored with a National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2012 and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2002. His photographs — which were acquired by the Library of Congress, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, among other institutions — have been the subject of numerous exhibitions, books, essays, and lectures.

“Few urban districts in modern history have been more discussed than Lower Manhattan, and the World Trade Center (WTC) has held a prominent place in accounts of the area since it was completed in 1973. Radio Row, a viable neighborhood, had to make way for the Twin Towers, which were widely criticized on both aesthetic and political grounds; many regarded them as soulless behemoths and arrogant symbols of American imperialism. But their destruction brought a kind of horror not previously seen in the United States, and triggered years of wars and political instability in distant countries.

The full series that is on display as part of an exhibition The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. — which the Museum says is dedicated to those who perished and those who responded to the attack that took place 20 years ago — features 52 total images that look into the half-century that has passed since the original World Trade Center was constructed. Vergara began taking interest in the area in 1970, two years after initial construction began and three years before the twin towers would open.

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View west from St. Paul’s Chapel with the Twin Towers under construction, Broadway and Fulton Street, New York, New York; 1970. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.
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View west from St. Paul’s Chapel, Broadway and Fulton Street, New York, New York; 2001. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.
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View west from St. Paul’s Chapel with One World Trade Center under construction, Broadway and Fulton Street, New York, New York; 2011. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.
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View west from St. Paul’s Chapel, Broadway and Fulton Street, New York, New York; April 10, 2021. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.

“I closely followed the construction of the towers, watching heavy trucks bring in steel or haul away dirt amid the noise of jackhammers and clanging metal. As they rose to become the tallest buildings in the world, I regarded them as a wild expression of mistaken priorities in a troubled time,” Vergara says.

“More than half a million Americans were fighting in Vietnam, and many parts of New York were crumbling, segregated, poor, and violent. This reality shaped my early encounters with the towers, and I tried to convey my feelings by photographing them with homeless people in the foreground, or in harsh sunlight that turned the buildings into gleaming blades. It seemed impossible that I would outlive them.”

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View east across the Hudson River from Exchange Place, Jersey City, New Jersey; July 4, 1978. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.

Vergara says that eventually his initial resentment faded, and he began to see them as great human creations.

“As I traveled farther away to photograph the towers from distant boroughs, they seemed to lose their solidity and become mysterious, fantastic, and alluring. I liked seeing them in the background of my photos as they rose above houses, waterways, vegetation, junkyards, expressways, and elevated trains,” he says.

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View east from downtown Newark, New Jersey (in the foreground from left to right: the Lefcourt Newark and National Newark Buildings); 1992. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.
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View west to Jersey City from Battery Park City, New York, New York; September 11, 2011. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.

“On September 11, 2001, the WTC area went from being a place symbolizing pride and power to one of smoking rubble and death. There has been much rebuilding and renewal since then, including several landmarks designed by star architects built to the north, east, and south of the land once occupied by the towers.”

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View west from the Brooklyn Bridge capturing the annual September 11 “Tribute in Light,” a commemorative art installation that recreates the shapes of the towers, Brooklyn, New York; 2017. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.

Vergara has photographed not only the area that became the original twin towers but also the rise of the new skyscrapers that were built around the memorial spaces that honor those who died in the attacks.

The National Building Museum says that Vergara’s most recent work captures the effects of the Coronavirus in poor, segregated communities across the New York metropolitan area.

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View north across New York Harbor to Lower Manhattan from The Staten Island Ferry; 2021.
Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.

“The tallest, darkest, and most fortified tower, One World Trade Center, stands disconnected from the memorial, the museum and the rest of the complex. Now, many fear that a remote workforce engendered by the pandemic will continue to haunt this largely empty district. And so yet another chapter in the history of the area begins.”

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Visitors outside the 9/11 Memorial Museum, New York, New York; 2021. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara.

The exhibition which features Vergara’s full collection of images can be seen at the National Building Museum from September 4, 2021, through March 6, 2022.


Header image: View west from the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn, New York; November 1979. Courtesy National Building Museum, © Camilo José Vergara


Image credits: Photos by Camilo José Vergara, provided courtesy of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

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Gorgeous Starlapse Shot From Upcoming Launch Site of Ariane 6 Rocket

Gorgeous Starlapse Shot From Upcoming Launch Site of Ariane 6 Rocket

Watching any Milky Way timelapse is almost always an awe-inspiring experience, but add in the stellar location of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Ariane 6 rocket launch site and you’ve got a recipe for something truly special.

As Digital Trends reports, the agency is currently preparing for the arrival of Europe’s next-generation launch vehicle. The above starscape-filled timelapse was filmed around the launch base in French Guiana and lets you “imagine yourself stepping out of the launcher assembly building or standing on the launch pad in front of the 90-meter high mobile gantry, to look at the stars.”

The video opens with a breathtaking view of the Milky Way before shifting gears and showing off several of the night scenes around the ESA’s launch site in South America where Europe’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket will soon lift off from. Comprised of two versions, the Ariane 6 is a modular three-stage launcher (Solid-Cryogenic-Crogenic) and is configured with an A62 with two strap-on boosters and an A64 with four boosters. The entire Ariane 6 sits at just over 60 meters tall (196.85 feet), which is just about the same height as SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

The European Space Agency says the new rocket will weigh nearly 900 tons when launched with a full payload that is “roughly equivalent to one-and-a-half Airbus A380 passenger airplanes.” The video below shows what this launch mission should look like once the rocket finally gets started.

According to the ESA, the launch of the Ariane 6 is comprised of three stages: the two or four strap-on boosters, a core stage, and the upper stage. The core stage propels the Ariane 6 for the first 10 minutes of flight where either the two or four boosters will provide additional thrust at liftoff. The upper stage will be powered by the re-ignitable Vinci engine allowing the Ariane 6 to reach a range of orbits on a single mission to deliver more payloads, with the upper stage burning up two or more times to reach the required orbit. Once the payload has been separated, the rocket will burn a final time to deorbit the upper stage to mitigate space debris.

Gorgeous Starlapse Shot From Upcoming Launch Site of Ariane 6 Rocket 12
Exploded view

Sitting at the top of the rocket is the 20 meters (65.6 feet) tall and 5.4 meters (17.7 feet) diameter Ariane 6 fairing which will contain the various payloads and protect them from any thermal, acoustic, or aerodynamic stress during the ascent to space. This section has only recently arrived at the launch facility and will undergo a series of tests before its maiden voyage into outer space. While the rocket was initially scheduled to launch back in 2020, multiple delays — including some caused by the global coronavirus pandemic — have caused the mission to be pushed back until the spring of this upcoming year (2022).

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Gorgeous Time-lapse Shows Starry Night at Rocket Launch Site

Gorgeous Time-lapse Shows Starry Night at Rocket Launch Site


Gorgeous Time-lapse Shows Starry Night at Rocket Launch Site 14

It’s hard to go wrong with a time-lapse of a star-filled sky, but throw in the imposing accouterments of a rocket launch site and you end up with something really rather special.

A beautiful time-lapse (top) released recently by the European Space Agency (ESA) captures a stunning starry sky over its Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.

The video kicks off with a glorious view of the Milky Way before showing other dazzling scenes that include various parts of ESA’s launch facility.

“Imagine yourself stepping out of the launcher assembly building or standing on the launch pad in front of the 90-meter-high mobile gantry to look at the stars,” ESA says in a message accompanying the video.

The site will see the launch of Europe’s next-generation rocket, the heavy-lift Ariane 6.

The Ariane 6 will comprise two versions, the A62 featuring two strap-on boosters, and the A64 with four. At just over 60 meters, the Ariane 6 is about the same height as SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, which just this weekend set a new flight record.

Which of these two versions is used will depend on the nature of the mission. The A62 Ariane 6 rocket, for example, can launch payloads of between 8,800 and 15,400 pounds (4,000 to 7,000 kg) while the A64 can cope with payloads of between 24,250 and 35,300 pounds (11,000 to 16,000 kg).

ESA’s next-generation rocket will weigh almost 900 tons when launched with a full payload, a weight described by Europe’s space agency as “roughly equivalent to one-and-a-half Airbus A380 passenger airplanes.”

The video below shows what a typical Ariane 6 mission could look like.

The Ariane 6 fairing that sits atop the rocket is 20 meters (65.6 feet) tall with a 5.4-meter (17.7 foot) diameter. The component recently arrived at the launch site and will undergo a series of tests prior to its first journey into space.

The new rocket had been scheduled to embark on its first-ever launch in 2020, but various delays — including some caused by the coronavirus pandemic — have pushed the mission to the spring of next year.

In the meantime, if ESA’s video has inspired you to try shooting your own star-filled time-lapse, this video tells you all you need to know.

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Officials Warn Against ‘Instagram Hikers’ Venturing to Plane Crash Site

Officials Warn Against 'Instagram Hikers' Venturing to Plane Crash Site

Officials Warn Against 'Instagram Hikers' Venturing to Plane Crash Site 15

A popular COVID lockdown photo location in Higher Shelf Stones, England has become dangerous for “Instagram Hikers” as winter approaches. Volunteer mountain rescue teams have advised against visiting after being called out multiple times to assist ill-prepared visitors.

The crash site is known as the Peak District Air Accident and involved a Boeing RB-29A 44-61999 of the 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron of the United States Air Force, which crash-landed due to fog at Higher Shelf Stones on November 3, 1948. All thirty-three members of the crew died in the crash.

According to The Guardian, the location has become a popular Instagram photo site during COVID-19 lockdown, where hikers reportedly flocked to the location to take photos of the debris.

However, as winter approaches, the landscape has become increasingly dangerous and the nearby Glossop mountain rescue team has begun urging visitors to be prepared for poor weather and difficult terrain.

Two Callouts Sunday 15/11/20

The first callout of the day came in at 15.15, reports of a female with a lower leg…

Posted by Glossop Mountain Rescue Team on Monday, November 16, 2020

While the volunteer rescue team has been called out multiple times to assist injured hikers, they also have wasted hours looking for visitors who had long since reached safety before the team arrived.

Glossop Mountain Rescue Team issue plea after second search for walkers who were already at home.

Glossop Mountain…

Posted by Glossop Mountain Rescue Team on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Guardian reports that in one such case, the team searched for hours in the area for a hiker they had been alerted to as injured, and when they could not find the missing party became increasingly worried. However, later that night they were made aware of the hiker’s safety at home, some distance away.

“This has happened twice in recent weeks,” said Patch Haley, the rescue team lead, to The Guardian. “We’re always glad to hear that people are safe, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep us informed. If people do make their own way down after they call emergency services for assistance, it’s vital they let us know via 101. My fear is that with higher volumes of walkers visiting the area during lockdown, more of these false alarms will leave our rescue team overstretched, and at risk of struggling to reach those who are genuinely in need of urgent assistance.”

(via The Guardian)

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109-Year-Old Camera Store Burned Down in Jacob Blake Riots, Site Visited by Trump

109-Year-Old Camera Store Burned Down in Jacob Blake Riots, Site Visited by Trump

A camera store that had been trading for 109 years got caught in the crossfire of riots taking place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake. President Trump has visited the former site of Rode’s Camera Shop after it was burned to the ground during the protests.

Current owner Tom Gram had been an employee at the store for 41 years before taking the reins from the Rode family, who opened the shop back in 1911. Gram ran the shop with business partner Paul Willette, who detailed the devastating sentimental losses to Kenosha News:

This was just a building, but people’s memories were inside. That’s what is killing me. A woman had just come in Monday and brought in a photo of her grandparents in elementary school, wanting it to be restored. I left it on my desk. Now, it’s all gone. Our customers lost family memories.

“We understand the protests, but why destroy these businesses?” added Gram.

109-Year-Old Camera Store Burned Down in Jacob Blake Riots, Site Visited by Trump 18

109-Year-Old Camera Store Burned Down in Jacob Blake Riots, Site Visited by Trump 19

109-Year-Old Camera Store Burned Down in Jacob Blake Riots, Site Visited by Trump 20

So historic is the store that even President Trump paid the site a visit, despite the co-owners stating outright that they “didn’t want anything to do with President Trump.” Despite the current owners declining the visitation offer, former owner John Rode III was drafted in to host the President. “I just appreciate President Trump coming today; everybody here does,” Rode said.

So, what’s next for the store owners? Gram says he’ll likely retire earlier than originally planned, while Willette says he’ll be looking for a new job, although he didn’t specify if it would be in the same field.

All images Shealah Craighead, courtesy of the White House.

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