Friday, November 05, 2010

Luke Frazza is de bomb!

Luke Frazza is de bomb!

"Emergency personnel battle a fire at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, 11 September, 2001 after an airplane crashed into it. At the same time, two passenger planes were crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in new York City. Both towers collapsed." AFP PHOTO/ Luke FRAZZA

It just goes to prove that mother was right: when you go looking for the good in something, you will find it---in people as well as in archives. But she also said never trust a journalist---they are not your friend.

A star truth teller in the ranks of professional photojournalists who worked at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001---a high ground which is otherwise occupied solely by Ron Sachs---is Luke Frazza, of Agence France Presse, whose work the New York Times published post 9-11. I don't know how Sachs and Frazza were handled differently then the rest, but they managed to garner results which were not only newsworthy in their day, but they pass a critical test of history, which impeaches the integrity of the others.

Originally, I posted a blog about Luke Frazza back in June, 2007, but the photos I used there were hosted off my Flickr account. Subsequently, someone with influence had Flickr terminate my entire photo service, and I lost access to a study collection of some 3000 Pentagon images. Out of laziness I didn't reconstruct this Frazza piece, which was a rare example of treating a component of the storyline with only complimentary plaudits. But recently, when a Frazza search on Google returned nothing to my blog, I remembered that I had high praise to offer!

Over the period of time I've gained additional insight into these matters, and I must say, a fresh review of Luke Frazza's 9/11 work leaves me even more impressed than I was before with what he accomplished---especially given his privledged access within the most powerful Washington circles.

The photo at top was taken from the same point of view as the image made famous by Will Morris of the Associated Press---who I am sure made more money off his. In Frazza's shot, he captured the only scene of the mayhem, which conveys a context that includes a neighboring commercial building---a depiction which changes the whole prospect of the disaster for me. Also, in his singular result, we see a field of depth between the Pentagon and the construction trailers and cable spools lying outside, which other views offer as foreshortened. I don't know why that's relevant, but I expect it was done on purpose.

(Also note that the building facade overlooking the site of the attack, was constructed in a pattern with blind windows, severely limiting the potential for a view. I imagine that was done by a requirement of the Pentagon, which must have controlled the development that occurred on the adjacent site. In the same way, the Pentagon can control access and occupancy at the Sheraton Hotel overlooking the Navy Annex. On September 11th, 2001, there was a scheduled mid-week conference taking place, which must have guaranteed only in-house ringers would have any view from the guest rooms.)

Frazza is the single source in the record for image examples such as these:

When blowhards argue that the highways surrounding the Pentagon were never shut down on 9/11, even temporarily so, I'll prove them wrong with this Frazza shot, showing, we are told, a Department of Defense police officer standing guard on an [emptied] roadway.

I don't know how Frazza captured the only view I'm aware of, which shows a refrigerated truck delivered on the Pentagon lawn, which was meant to hype the grotesquely inflated estimate of casualties. But since this loaner morgue was from the Winn-Dixie, it was obviously reconsidered and withdrawn. Now it feels like a gift to me.

Luke Frazza was the only photographer who took shots of a strange moment seen in the two following images. I am clueless as to what is actually being removed by crane, but since my subconscious registers it as being the missing wing debris from a 757 jet---all we have to do is plant a seed like this to minimize what is a missing element and logical fallacy in the story---the sort of evidence that Theirry Meissan based his Pentagon-conspiracy bestseller on.

Like I said three years ago, anybody could have come up with an image like the one below, which depicts a low energy moment in the center of the action sometime around noon:

But what Luke does is also capture someone sneaking away for a quick pee! Hey, you're supposed to be clocked in at a war-zone!

Frazza is the only one who photographed during an apparently short-lived restriction when it wasn't permitted at the Pentagon---a condition permanently found at the FBI-administered Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island, where all the forensic evidence from the collapsed World Trade tower's was hidden and destroyed before public study. You're only as sick as your secrets.

But this image, retrieved from a search at the Getty web site, looks like the most altered piece of photoshop crap imaginable. Was it supposed to be released?

Several other photographers got shots of the individuals dressed up approximately as "FBI agents," who did sweeps of the outdoor areas for evidence like debris from a plane crash. But since we never see them once picking anything up off the ground, this becomes its own proof that no plane crashed there that day.

But for the cognoscenti, in one shot Luke Frazza gets in a humorous dig, with his sighting in the background of tour buses, which delivered the law-enforcement crew, en masse, very early in the attack on 9/11.

As we see in this AP image by Don Lopez from The Daily Progress, where they are arriving laden down with duffel bags.

The caption for the following image reads, "Secretary of the Navy Gordon England (L) presents a navy citation to an unidentified US naval officer at the Pentagon in Washington, DC 17 December 2001."

The fact of some nameless heroism is a defining characteristic of the official actions government authorities treated the press and public to. How an awards ceremony like this could be publicized without a formal press release granting the honor to a named individual, turns the medal into a hollow, inauthentic symbol---and is extreme telling of what else might be unexpressed.

The news photographs of the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade towers on 9/11 universally come without any captions that identified by name those being depicted, whether they were victims, rescuers, or responders. Afterward, that slowly began to change, but Frazza, at least, has the decency to mention this as a glaring departure from the normal professional standards in journalism.

A case in point, on September 13th, Frazza shot images for the distributed hagiography that attended four men who were chosen to "rescue" a Marine Corps flag, which appeared when the offices of the chief attorney for the Marine Corps was split open by a partial building collapse.

A similar image published in the Washington Post, was taken by WaPo staff member Michael Lutzky, and bore the identifying caption, "U.S. Marine Dan Pantaleo carries a Marine Corps flag that escaped damage during the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Also on hand, from left: firefighter Eric Jones, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chris Braman and Capt. Jared Hansbrough."

Although I haven't traced the publishing history of the Frazza shots, other published images were taken by Ron Edmonds and Steve Helber of the Associated Press, and all make the same identifications, which leads me to believe that the news was distributed from a central, master-control source, which determined the level of exposure, and relaxed the restrictions.

And I bet that whoever wrote this particular script would reconsider if they could do it all over again. Nothing about 9/11 adds up, or can stand up to any scrutiny---like investigating the character and background of the four men enlisted in this impromptu public-relations offering, served up to bolster the nation's waning spirits in the days following Tuesday's scripted catharsis.

I wrote a blog that dissected the four, although I titled it, "Volunteer Firefighter Eric M. Jones, Marine Maj. Dan Pantaleo, Army Staff Sgt. Chris Braman, and Ms. Sheila Moody," leaving out Capt. Jared Hansbrough's name, which is what Representative Curt Weldon did when he entered an honorific into the Congressional Record for the act, where he only mentioned the others, as if Hansbrough was understood to be a covert agent, spotted in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Frazza continued to do good work, like capturing a secret ecstasy on the politician's faces as Bush signed the Patriot Act into law a few weeks later.

When he photographed British Prime Minister Tony Blair with First Lady Laura Bush, as they applauded George Bush's speech before the nation on September 20, 2001, alongside the New York Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, Frazza captured Rudi looking like the Godfather, in his all-time high display of oleaginous hauteur. What unfolded from there, has been a badly planned, but planned nonetheless, organized crime on our collective dignity and liberty.

You can tell that Tom Daschle wasn't meant long for this world, can't you?

To Luke Frazza! We can tell one another apart now and I knew you'd made the cut three years ago! Sorry it took so long to report on it!

1 comment:

  1. Well, for the sake of playing devil's advocate, I'll post a question about the fire apparatus:

    Couldn't it be possible that since an inordinate amount of falling debris was unique to the events of 9/11 and not the other two events, it contributed to the decision of the FDNY not to park the majority of the fire trucks right in front of the building? Didn't Chief Pfeifer radio a staging area of Vesey and West Street for incoming units?

    Additionally, couldn't timing have played a role, in that a person in one of those buildings was probably only likely to stay taking photographs for a few minutes before deciding to evacuate, perhaps prompted by the 2nd plane hitting?