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 mother was right: when you go looking for the good you will find it--in people as well as in archives. She also said never trust a journalist--they are not your friend.
A star truth teller to join the ranks of, or shall I say rank of, professional photojournalists working at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001--a high ground occupied solely by Ron Sachs--is Luke Frazza, of Agence France Presse, whose work the New York Times published post 9-11, after the gray lady had caught on to her hoodwinking. I don't know how Sachs and Frazza were handled differently, but they managed to garner results which were not only newsworthy in their time, they pass a critical test of history, which impeaches the honesty of the rest.
The photo at top resembles the point of view in two famous images taken by Will Morris, who I'm sure made a great deal of motivating money off them. In Frazza's shot he captures the only image of the mayhem which also includes a prospect of a neighboring commercial building, s depiction which for some reason changes the whole context of the disaster. Also, in a singularly depiction, we see the true depth between the Pentagon building and the construction trailers-cable spools than are shown in any of other, foreshortened, views. I don't know what the relevance is of that point, but I imagine it was scripted. (And do note the facade of blind windows, which face in the direction of the Pentagon lawn. I imagine that was done as a requirement for developing that site. In the same way, the Pentagon controlled all occupancy and access to the Sheraton Hotel on the hill overlooking the Pentagon and the Navy Annex, with a planned mid-week conference, which guaranteed only ringers were in the guest rooms.)
I originally posted this blog on June 30, 2007, but the photos I used in it were serviced by Flickr. Afterward, someone influenced Flickr to terminate my entire study collection of over 3000 Pentagon images, which left me in a bind. Out of laziness I didn't reconstruct the piece, which was a rare example of me treating a Pentagon participant with laudatory coverage, that is, until I recently noticed that I had lousy returns when Frazza was Googled because I had nothing to show!
Well, I've grown more experienced over this time, and I must say I am even more impressed with what Luke Frazza accomplished at the Pentagon on September 11th, with even, or in spite of, his privledged access to powerful movers and shakers.
For instance, Frazza is the single source in the image record for examples such as these:
When a Pentagon blowhard argued with me that the highways surrounding the building were not shut down on 9/11, I can prove he's wrong with a Frazza image
How was he able to capture the delivery of a refrigerated truck to the site in order to store the inflated ranks of non-existent corpses? No one else caught this Winn-Dixie narrative overreaching, and now I'm going to highlight it!
Luke Frazza was the only photographer to get shots of the strange moment seen in two images below. I am clueless as to what is being removed, but my subconscious registers this debris as being the missing wings from a 757 jetliner---and sometimes all we have to do is plant a seed like this one does to minimize the logical glitches that Theirry Meissan based his bestselling Pentagon conspiracy book on. The primarily yellow flag getting in the way of the work is the state flag of Maryland. Nothing nefarious there.
As I said in my blog three years ago, anybody could have come up with an image depicting slatternly action before noon that day:
But what Luke does is capture somebody sneaking away for a quick pee! Hey ! You're on the clock.
Luke is the only one to photograph where photography is prohibited---like at the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island. You're only as sick as your secrets, I say, although it's worth the delicious irony.
Several other photographers also shot pictures of people dressed approximately as "FBI agents," doing a sweep of the outdoor areas around the Pentagon for evidence like the debris from a plane crash. We never see any of them ever picking up anything, which then becomes proof that no plane crashed that day!
But for the cognoscenti, in one shot Luke Frazza gets a humorous dig in, with a sighting in the background of the tour buses, which had delivered the law enforcement crew en masse within the first hour after the attack started on 9/11.
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 actually defines the official actions which government authorities treated the press and public to. How an awards ceremony such as this could have been publicized at all without also issuing a formal press release granting the honor to an individual, which is only symbolized by a ribbon---is telling in the extreme.
None of the news photographs from the Pentagon on 9/11 (and true in New York too,) ever came with a single identifying caption, whether they were depicting a victim, a rescuer or a villain. Frazza, at least, has the decency to mention this glaring departure from professional journalistic standards.
In fact, Frazza is part of a correction to the oversight, when on September 13th, he helps shoot the hagiography for when four men "rescue" the Marine's flag from the clived offices of the Corps' corporate attorney.
I'm not sure if the images the Washington Post published are credited to Frazza, but for the first time in the total image record of 9/11, a major outlet included the names of the individuals who were depicted in the report. WaPo said, "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."
But I bet if the scriptwriters could do it over, they would reconsider the move. For nothing about 9/11 adds up, or stands up to the slightest scrutiny---like investigating the character and backgrounds of the four men who were enlisted in this impromptu public-relations offering, served up to a nation as its spirits waned in the days following Tuesday's catharsis.
I wrote a blog dissecting the four, although I called 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, he mention only the three.
The firemen are depicted as always--standing around doing nothing, but Frazza gets a sharper focus on their lack of focus.
He even catches one of them going for a pee.
And in a photo which should disgust us as it opens our eyes and sets off alarm bells, Frazza captures the same group of men shown in Hillary Smith Garrison's dramatic image of military rescuers standing in the maw of a fiery hell. One man wearing a backpack is shown in these, and several other images of that moment. In what is apparently a before moment, he's seen talking with someone who has broken out in a full laugh, as others look distractedly on, or away, or at each other, or at the camera, focused anywhere but at the event which changed the world, probably toward whomever is supposed to be giving them directions.
FBI agents form a human chain looking for crash debris behind the Pentagon.
Frazza takes a group of three images of "FBI" agents forming "human chains" to look for evidence of a plane crash. Viewed independently, but certainly when seen together, these images show the agency of the FBI to be intent on a posed and artificial response, mugging for the camera without much success in finding anything evidential. In one shot Frazza even catches the buses that brought hundreds of these backbenchers onto the scene within a half hour after the battle had ended.
To Luke Frazza! We can tell one another apart now and you made the cut! Sorry it took so long!