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New York September 11

Magnum Photographers

PowerHouse Books, New York, 2001


Time and again in these photobooks we come up against that paradox of encountering the most amazing images of the most appalling events. For a photographer, it is instinctive not only to take the picture, but also to compose it, and these days, when the camera itself automatically takes care of almost everything else, composition becomes everything.

And yet despite being taken by photographers of the legendary Magnum agency, “New York September 11” is, for my money, not the best of the 9/11 photobooks. That accolade must go to “Here is New York: A Democracy of Photographs” the editor of which, Gilles Peress, also features here, along with Steve McCurry, Susan Meiselas, Alex Webb, and Paul Fusco, (who photographed my own all-time favourite photobook, “RFK Funeral Train”, which also deals with grief and mourning,).

I often worry that such persistent and relentless exposure to the same footage and imagery might lead to a desensitised numbness, thus negating the actual point of its existence. Perhaps it is the sheer graphic scale of this particular catastrophe, and the way in which it was recorded in the work of photographers like these, that has prevented such ever happening.

When not part of the current display, you can find it here: folio HV6432.N48 (social sciences – social pathology, social and public welfare, criminology – terrorism – US)



Come along to the Main Library on North Street to take a look for yourself. This book is part of The Hidden Photobooks display which is running from 1 – 30 September and is part of the St Andrews Photography Festival. Everyone is welcome and the event is free. Check out the Library Instagram for photographs Marcus has chosen from his own work to accompany these blog posts. 

The Hidden Photobooks: New York September 11
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