This video is approx. 17 minutes long,
and is a 42MB QuickTime video file.
Video © Andy Levin

“Howard Chapnick had taught me early on of the value of personal work. One of the first stories he assigned me to do was a “documentary” on the World Trade Center. When I got down there. I remember asking to see the stairs and being surprised how small they seemed for such large buildings.

When the plane first hit, I was at 12th street and 6th Avenue. I returned to my apartment, and went out to photograph the burning buildings. I remember thinking, "Its early, there can’t be that many people inside." Little did I know of the suffering that was going on a mile away. It was a beautiful day.

I am still trying to figure out why I didn’t go down to Ground Zero - immediately.

In all honesty, “Aftermath” was my way of making up for not going down to Ground Zero that morning, like Fournier and Nachtwey and many others did.

I had lost my mother to cancer a few months before so perhaps it was easier for me to deal with the emotion of the funerals, the bagpipes, and people breaking down, than the violence itself. There was a lot more tape of the bagpipes than I could put in the film; people just couldn’t handle hearing it. Sometimes I couldn’t either.

The story of “Aftermath” is that two weeks ago, it was scheduled to be shown only in a small firehouse near Ground Zero. I e-mailed about 50 public TV stations offering them the film. One person, Carrie Corbin, at a small station in Michigan e-mailed me back. She had no time to look at the film. She had a hundred films to review, on her desk. I e-mailed her back: “You owe it to your audience to see this film.”

A week later, sight unseen, she put me in touch with NETA, the National Educational Television Association. Last week NETA uploaded the film. On Tuesday, the 4th of September, my contact at NETA, Maryanne Freeman, e-mailed me. She was astounded. 90% of the public television stations had scheduled “Aftermath” for 9/11, including here in New York. This was beyond her wildest dreams. I say this because it’s the most important lesson of all. You have to believe in what you are doing, and don’t be shy about it.

Andy Levin has been a photojournalist for over 25 years. Levin began his career in photography with Howard Chapnick at Black Star, and was a Contributing Photographer at Life Magazine. His father, Robert, was an avid photographer who brought people like Weegee, Cartier-Bresson, and Paul Schutzer to the family's home in Long Beach, Long Island.


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