Capturing September 11 on Film
She was supposed to see some guy the night before. They were not boyfriend and girlfriend, they were just enjoying each other's company. At the very last minute things changed and she decided to stay, she didn't really like him that much, in the city. “Better that way, if I had gone I would have been stuck in Brooklyn for who knows how long...” she joked later on. She lived in a really cool and trendy area, on Broome Street, between Spring and Prince, the heart of Soho basically. So instead of going to see him she had opted for a drink at one of the local bars with the “usual suspects.”
On September 11, 2001, Annalisa Iadicicco, photographer and mixed media artist, was sleeping late, like any other morning. Things were going as usual, with a little difference. Rosa, her mom, had just called. She knew she was never to call before 12 pm. It was unusual for her to be calling.
A light knock on the door, it was her roommate, carrying the phone. “She was worried, she wanted to check if everything was OK. I had no idea what she was talking about,” Annalisa recalls, “I was still half asleep but as she kept talking something in me was coming to life. I didn't let her finish. I just grabbed my camera and ran out. I wanted to see it for myself. I didn't even put clothes on, I left still wearing my pajamas.”
Looking south, at the corner of Spring and Prince, tourists used to take pictures of the city's twin towers. It was a perfect shot, a shot for postcards. That's where she planted herself. But the panorama was different on September 11. Stunned, as everybody else around her, she looked at the cloud of smoke that was engulfing the area where they used to stand. “I started to click away and I was able to catch the North Tower as it was crumbling on the ground. I didn't even realize what was happening, I was just focused on capturing it on film. And in just a few seconds it was over... the tower had been totally engulfed by smoke and disappeared. I had no curiosity to get any closer. As my mind was registering what my lens had already recorded random sentences that my mother had told me came back to me.”
“I was running late this morning,” Rosa had said to her, “So I am safe at home.”
“Safe at home,” that's what really mattered, as Rosa worked at Gemelli, Tony May's restaurant in the World Trade Center. In 1997, Tony May opened Gemelli in the World Trade Center followed by PastaBreak in 1998. On September 11, 2001, both Gemelli and PastaBreak were destroyed in the attack on World Trade Center. Later, Tony May worked tirelessly to help feed the rescue workers, as well as to help his displaced employees.
The street was jammed packed and despite the great amount of people there was an eerie silence. The Police was already blocking the streets. “I went back to my apartment. I grabbed some things and went to Queens on my scooter. I wanted to be close to my family. To hug them... and from then on September 11 has become a day to hug my loved ones. You should hug them too, as life can change in the blink of an eye.”
about ANNALISA IADICICCO
A.I. is made up of photographs, and installations.
My work is a genuine celebration of the beauty found in simple and natural things.
In my work I contemplate personal quests, social injustices and environmental problems. I use components such as cement, aluminum, burned wood and recyclable materials to draw a connection between the organic world and the urban world we live in.
Each day is an opportunity to come across my latest media, which I find along my urban travels. These humble materials, like rusted corrugated steel metal might be found passing a N.Y.C construction site (used in the “Origins” series). Or maybe along an adventure to an old farm upstate where I come across pieces of weathered
two hundred-year-old wood (used in the “Stone Angel”)
Breathing new life and repurposing material that would otherwise have been left to wither and age in anonymity compels me to create my art. Each piece inevitable goes through multiple incarnations before it reaches its final state. Just to be able to be a part of the process of art coming alive in my hands; the process of creation and listening to each unique piece and allowing it to lead me in its metamorphosis is what
A.I. is about.