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Remembering the World Trade Center and 9/11

By Will Austin

Will Austin’s award-winning photography has taken him around the world. Although he regularly does editorial work, Will specializes in documenting cutting-edge architecture and industrial workplaces. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife and son, but hails from Colorado cowboy country.

September 16, 2021

I visited the World Trade Center with my family at the end of 2000 on a clear and chilly day. We went to the top on the enormous elevators which seemed as big as conference rooms. On the way up we all had to have our picture taken at a photo station. I told them I didn’t want to buy a photo but I later realized it was a security measure. The view was breathtaking and I photographed the shadows of the towers darkening lower Manhattan.

I loved the design by Seattle architect Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the Rainier Tower. The towers were more beautiful in person and unbelievably massive. We were cold and a bit hungry but I took a few moments after we left to shoot a few images. My favorite is the view looking up through the Ideogram sculpture by American artist James Rosati.

Of course, less than a year later the towers fell. I left work early that day to be with my family. My baby boy was 2 weeks old and I was wondering what kind of world we brought him into. A little while later I was laid off at my construction job for reasons related to the dot com stock market crash. My wife wasn’t back to work yet, so we had no income and little savings. However, as I held my tiny baby in my arms and watched the world coming apart on the TV I somehow felt like everything would be alright. I still had faith in humanity. And I still do. A wise friend once told me that “life is a disease of forgetting.” He meant that we have a hard time remembering the important things, they somehow slip our minds and we have to learn the same lessons over and over again. My hope for the next 20 years is that we remember what is important, lest we succumb to this “disease of forgetting.”

I posted this to Instagram and thought I’d cross-post and elaborate a bit here).

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1 Comment

  1. Vicky Pylant

    Beautiful photos of Twin Towers — before! These are treasures.