Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mark Faram's Fat Lady Sings with Paul Haring at the Piano

The photographic record of the attack on the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001, is almost completely devoid of cross references. Players in the narrative are seen in the images by which they are known, but then never again viewed accidentally or casually, as incidental backdrops to other action. One of the only examples I am aware of is in this scene of a helicopter landing in the middle of Route 27, in front of the damaged building, about to load a casualty aboard. In it, we can see a distracted Father Stephen McGraw, the lead matinée idol of the medical triage vignettes taken by Mark Faram, scenes which took place several hundred feet north of here.

But in another view of the same scene taken by the Christian fundamentalist wedding photographer Paul Haring, found on his home web page here, we also see Father McGraw, this time walking away on the other side of the guard rail---but near him, we see an enormously obese woman who figured as a victim in the same medical triage scenes taken by Mark Faram. (For some reason, seven of Haring's images were posted on a Military District of Washington army web site.)

We can't see the face of the obese woman in the most famous image taken by Mark Faram, which received wide distribution.

But in a much higher resolution image which was released by the military we can clearly make out her facial features and the pattern on her white tee-shirt.

These two images, taken in close tandem, show the obese woman in a static position, resting forward as if leaning on her foreleg. Since in the widely distributed image we are told that the kneeling figure of Father McGraw is ministering to a badly burned man whose view is blocked by the woman and a medical responder, it is strange to find all the players in the second image rearranged except for the obese lady victim. In fact, to find such an extremely large human hanging in a state of stasis in such an awkward pose creates a feeling of kinetic tension, which I think is contrived. I have always called her "Hemorrhoid Lady" as a result. Since the nearby "Mr. Suspender Man" is holding aloft an IV bag in both pictures, even though the business end of the IV doesn't appear to be operative, I've long considered these images to be of a faked scene.

So imagine my shock when I found a second image showing the obese woman just standing there unattended. Is she waiting in line for a super heavy duty helicopter to airlift her in a supply of Tucks® medicated pads? Given the enormous disparity between the hundreds of responders versus the score or so of wounded casualties who escaped the Pentagon building that morning, doesn't this ignoring of a central figure in the ranks of the wounded (in fact, hers is one of the few faces we ever see of a wounded person,) represent a profound dereliction of duty? How many hero military responders received medals that day again?

1 comment:

  1. Sorry but I think you're full of BS.
    I don't think hemorrhoid lady is a victim. I think she's helping. In fact it seems clear to me.

    The shots all look like a normal time line to me.
    I don't know who Mark Faram is except that he shot some photos there.