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10 years later, photographer remembers 9/11

Book of photographs documents memorials each year at Ground Zero

Marie Triller, a photographer from Albany, shot pictures at Ground Zero for 10 years. Those images are now a book, "10 Years: Remembering 9/11."

Marie Triller, a photographer from Albany, shot pictures at Ground Zero for 10 years. Those images are now a book, "10 Years: Remembering 9/11." Submitted photo

Remembrance, togetherness

The annual memorial at Ground Zero was a large source of material for Triller, who traveled to the city each year to attend. Talking about that first memorial in 2002 still brings tears, and Triller said she doesn’t think she’ll ever forget its intensity.

“The first memorial was really overwhelming for everyone; without a doubt the most emotional one. As a photographer I was emotional … I remember people crying and hugging …I remember hugging total strangers,” said Triller.

That first year, Triller snapped a photo of a woman crying. When the woman spotted her and her camera, Triller said she felt bad for infringing on her privacy and walked over to apologize. The woman didn’t want an apology, though.

“I thought she might be angry with me but instead she just threw her arms around me and hugged me and we stood there crying,” said Triller.

Over the years, the level of emotion has eased, for Triller at least.

“I hate to even say that because I doubt it [eases] for the families, it still has to be so difficult,” said Triller. “If I feel this much pain and this much heartache over 9/11, I can’t imagine what they feel like and the depth of their suffering. I always try to keep that in mind.”

An artist’s calling

Triller said she struggles to explain why 9/11 had such an enormous affect on her or why she felt such a need to photograph its aftermath for a decade. The best reason she can come up with is the same one Bruce Springsteen offered in 2001.

“I was a reading an article about Bruce Springsteen and in the article he said after 9/11 he reached for his guitar, it was his life preserver, and I had this instant response to his quote,” said Triller. “On one hand, for a split second, I thought it sounded corny and at the same time this other thought was, ‘I can relate to that’ because it was like my camera was my life preserver … I didn’t know what else to do but this was something I could do. I could make photographs.”

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