Sunday, December 13, 2009

Photographer Jim MacMillan, Philadelphia Daily News

Before the sun came up on Sept. 12, 2001, MacMillan climbed to the second floor of Two World Financial Center to take a picture of what remained of the World Trade Center. The moving sunrise photograph, now extolled as a testament to the devastation of 9/11, has found a place in the permanent collection of the Norton Museum of Art. [See article, First Light]
This award-winning photograph is one of 700 photos MacMillan is said to have shot that day, (many of which now comprise a series called "Attack on New York," although this image is the only one from 9/11 I found online,) ran on Sept. 13, on the front and back covers of the Daily News, and was also picked up by newspapers nationwide, including The Houston Chronicle and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Peter Turnley was just opposite of here, secreted away in a second-floor storeroom above Brooks Brothers at One Liberty Plaza, waiting for just these same light conditions. I've never seen his result on Google.

But there is one problem with both the Turnley and MacMullin images. Directly in the center of this shot should be standing the 30-story remains of the South Tower, which didn't collapse until 5pm on September 12th. For seven years, the single source reference in the record attesting to this fact---an article by Jennifer Steinhauer published in the New York Times on September 13, 2001, As Remnants Collapse, Workers Run For Cover---was effectively supressed. It resurfaced in December 2008, along with an important column by Robert Novack published on September 13, 2001, which also hadn't seen the light of day for seven years afterward.

Recently, I found the first official mention of this second-day collapse event in a governmental record: from the Office of Emergency Preparedness, Situation Report #7, dated September 15, 2001 1200 Eastern, maintained in a pdf I found in the "old" site
"Shortly after 1000 hours the south tower of the World Center collapsed. Within the next half-hour, the northern tower of the World Trade Center also collapsed.

"At approximately 1730 hours a third tower in the World Trade Center complex, Building #7, also collapsed.

"Wednesday evening, September 12, another building within the World Trade Center Complex collapsed. No additional casualties are expected due to this. However, it may make recovery more difficult."
This building remnant probably sat directly in front of the source of morning sunlight illuminating MacMullin's photo. His shot is impossible to reconcile with recovered truth and it represents a grave professional dereliction, damning MacMullan as fully implicated in the conspiracy of 9/11---but that did lead him to take some very good images of the Iraq war. I hope he's happy.

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