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A Sept. 11 experience to share

While I could share my own horror of watching the attacks on the World Trade Center as they happened, this is about a friend of mine, Bill, one of New York City’s great photographers.

In early September 2001, Bill had been hired by a bakery in lower Manhattan popular with the nearby fire station. So Bill arranged to shoot portraits of every fireman from all three shifts. Though the photos were taken for the bakery’s ad campaign, Bill decided to give each fireman a portrait — a 24 inch by 24 inch black and white print – as his thanks for their service to the community.

Sadly, by the time he could deliver a box of prints to the firehouse, the World Trade Center was in ruins, still cooling from the fires. When Bill walked into the firehouse, the captain tearfully told Bill that about half of the firemen had been lost at ground zero. But, he said, the families of those heroes would appreciate those portraits of their lost loved ones.

Bill is from Toronto and had a rather stoic nature about him. But when he told me this story over the phone, I could tell by his voice he was still deeply affected by the tragedy, the horror and the loss of so many new friends at the fire station.

David Ohman