In the months after the attack on the World Trade Center, Ground Zero was off limits to all professional photographers–except one, the veteran Joel Meyerowitz, who was 63 at the time. Actually, it was off limits to him, too, and he was often kicked out as he shot. But through a mix of connections, chutzpah and, where necessary, manipulations and white lies, Meyerowitz got access most days for 9 months, and managed to record the clean-up for posterity. “It’s such a part of my life that I can’t believe it has been 10 years....It has hardly ever been out of my mind,” Meyerowitz said, over an iffy Skype line from Italy. “The very act of the civil disobedience”–taking pictures where he wasn’t supposed to, because he thought they needed to be taken–“led to much more civic-minded work from me.”
...“In the early days of the clean-up there were enormous water cannons on the site, because it was still burning into January. Steam was being made by the water and the heat, and they brought in loads of movie lights that they borrowed from movie companies in New York, so no one would get hurt in the darkness. It’s around dusk in September or October. I remember every photo I’ve taken, and looking at [this one], it’s as though the veil of time is taken away.