After September 11: images from Ground Zero
Joel Meyerowitz is an internationally renowned photographer who has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary colour photography. A native New Yorker, he combines the spontaneity and wit of the street photographer with the discipline and thoughtfulness of the large-format landscape photographer.
On first visiting Ground Zero, Meyerowitz observed that the camaraderie among the workers reminded him of stories he had heard about the two World Wars. Certainly, the extent of the destruction and loss of life invites a comparison between New York, September 2001 and London, September 1940. But what Meyerowitz is referring to is the spirit that 'we're all in this together' and 'we will pick up the pieces and carry on'.
These sentiments, shared by Londoners and New Yorkers alike, are as much the subject matter of Meyerowitz's photographs as the smouldering remains of the twin towers. What Meyerowitz is really interested in is the possibility of making emotionally meaningful photographs, of finding expression for what Ground Zero represents in human terms.
This visiting exhibition has been arranged and sponsored by the Department of State of the United States of America to mark the six-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America. It is the first solo exhibition of Joel Meyerowitz's work in the UK.
The London Blitz
Alongside the images of Ground Zero are displayed a series of photographs of the bomb-damaged City of London. These were taken during the Second World War by two serving City of London police officers, Arthur Cross and Fred Tibbs. Altogether they took some 350 photographs, many of which record the efforts of the fire and rescue services to deal with the aftermath of the German bombing raids.
PC Arthur Cross had been appointed official photographer to the City of London Police Department in July 1939. With the advent of sustained night-time raids on London in September 1940 (the 'Blitz'), he was commissioned, as an aid to reconstruction, to compile an official photographic record of the damage caused to City buildings. The raids became so frequent and severe that an assistant, PC Fred Tibbs, soon had to be appointed. Their equipment was limited - a Kodak half-plate view camera and a second-hand Leica - but their dedication to the job was absolute. The result is a remarkable record of a critical period in London's history.
Photographs from the collection of the Museum of London
Last modified: Friday, 15 March, 2002