December 4, 2011
The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011—Pictures of Death, Destruction, & Massacre
“A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into.” -Ansel Adams
I am sure of three things: I wasn’t in Japan when the tsunami struck in March. I wasn’t blocks away from the World Trade Center when the planes crashed on 9/11. And I also wasn’t present for Hurricane Irene, among other events.
Many of us look through graphic pictures of these events on news sites when catastrophe hits, clicking through the slide-shows and later watching the video footage of each event in its entirety. I always wonder: what if I was there?
I imagine standing blocks away from the Twin Towers. The sound of a loud, buzzing jet engine streaking above me, crashing, and then exploding would propel me to look back at the view I was likely admiring 10 minutes prior.
Broken windows with flames coming out of them would explain the smell of smoke perfuming the air as people ran around frantically calling their family members, hoping for an answer. I would never forget this. And how could I?
A picture can tell us nothing more than what we have captured in limitation. Every picture is evidence of how little our eyes permit us to see, and exposes us to what we may have missed.
I want to be uplifted by stories, not saddened by them. I want people to be empowered and inspired, not despondent and defenseless. At the very least, I want to see the clouds spread and the sun shining.