to the OCTOBER 2001 edition of The Digital Journalist.
In our four-year history, we have had several defining moments. The first
came in April of 1999. As the exodus of refugees from the killing fields
of Kosovo began, photographers David and Peter Turnley were there. In
a few short weeks, we had scrapped our planned cover story, and built
our issue around their words, pictures, and video from the front lines.
We had Peter Turnley's pictures in our issue while Newsweek devoted their
cover to the photographs. A month later came the slaughter at Columbine.
Once again, we were able to collect what we considered to be the best
photographs from that tragedy, and combined them with interviews, both
text and video, with the photographers and editors who had been working
on the front lines of what we then called "The War at Home."
This spring we produced an enormous package on 20 years of AIDS and photography,
with the photographs and voices of the photographers who had witnessed
the birth of an epidemic.
The October 2001 issue was to be devoted to the second part in our series
"The State of Photojournalism," focusing on magazines and the
Then came September 11. As we watched the horrific images on television
we were already starting the process that has resulted in this issue:
"Seeing The Horror - The Voices from Behind the Lens at Ground Zero."
Rarely has a tragedy of this magnitude been so well documented by so many
talented and brave photojournalists. Newspaper, magazine, television,
and freelance photographers rushed to the scenes in minutes. Many put
their lives in mortal danger. Two were killed; many others were injured.
Hours later their work began to appear. All rose to the highest levels
of their craft, and the newspapers, magazines, and networks responded
by giving unprecedented space to the images.
At the invitation of American Photo magazine, we moved our command post
to their New York offices.
Susan Markisz, who contributed the fine cover story on the Newark Star-Ledger
last month, started to contact the photographers who had been on the scene.
We wanted not only to collect the best photographs from the newspapers,
agencies, and wire services, but also wanted to listen to the words of
We invited photojournalists to contribute pictures and diaries of their
personal experiences through postings on the web and in discussion lists.
More than 50 eyewitnesses contributed by email. Meanwhile, we conducted
more than a dozen on-camera interviews with photographers such as James
Nachtwey of the photo agency VII, Ruth Fremson of The New York Times,
David Handschuh of the New York Daily News - who was wounded when the
first tower of The World Trade Center fell, Carol Guzy and Michael Williamson
of The Washington Post, Richard Drew of the Associated Press, and others.
Still other contributors were sending in thoughts on the psychological
dangers to photographers who had witnessed the carnage.
Contributing Editor Peter Howe conducted interviews, and then began the
task of editing the huge selection of photographs. Photographer Aaron
Fineman, whose picture from Ground Zero landed on the front page of The
New York Times, provided invaluable assistance by conducting several interviews
with the Times' staff photographers.
Our columnists, David Friend, Bill Pierce, Amy Bowers, Jim Colburn, and
Roger Richards all submitted thought- provoking essays.
In some cases, the outstanding work deserved its own portfolios in this
issue. James Nachtwey has his own gallery, as does The New York Times,
whose team coverage of the World Trade Center holocaust was outstanding.
We hope this issue serves to honor these men and women who met the a great
challenge, and performed so nobly.
This issue would not have been possible without the very hard work of
a lot of people. Susan Markisz helped to conduct interviews, collate the
many responses we received from photographers who had been at Ground Zero,
and wrote our cover story. Peter Howe also conducted interviews, wrote
articles and columns, and was the lead picture editor for this issue.
Our webmaster David Snider waded through the hundreds of pictures, photo-shopped
them, and built the site during an almost round-the-clock effort for three
weeks. We thank the agencies and publications that contributed their images
for this use. In particular, we want to thank Joe Elbert and Michel DuCille
of The Washington Post, Mike Smith of The New York Times, Maria Mann of
Agence France Presse, Fred Sweets of Associated Press, The Newark Star
Ledger, The New York Daily News, The Bergen Record, VII photo agency,
Gamma USA, Reuters, Sipa Photos and the dozens of freelancers who stepped
forward with their words and pictures.
We especially want to thank David Schonauer, Jack Crager, and Deborah
Mauro of American Photo magazine, along with their staff, who invited
us to use their offices in New York City as a base while putting together
this issue. The Digital Journalist will be collaborating again with American
Photo for their January/February issue using the coverage we have collected.
Remember - Photojournalism is back!
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