An internationally acclaimed exhibition of approximately 500 photographs, relating directly to the events of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks, will have its San Diego premiere in the historic Gaslamp Quarter on Sept. 10. Located at the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter complex, 232 Fifth Ave., the opening of “Here is New York: A Democracy of Photographs” will serve as a major focal point for the city and country’s observance of the one-year anniversary of this national tragedy.
Named after E.B. White’s acclaimed 1949 essay that portrays the formidable character of New York and its innate vulnerability, “Here is New York” is not a conventional museum or gallery exhibition. The show began as a grassroots effort spearheaded by four individuals, with the assistance of hundreds of volunteers.
The project started with a single image of the World Trade Center hung in the window of an empty SoHo storefront, just 20 blocks from Ground Zero. Through word-of-mouth, hundreds and then thousands of photographs were submitted, many by noted photojournalists, but nearly two-thirds from amateurs.
To date, more than 5,000 images have been collected, scanned, organized and preserved, making “Here is New York” the most comprehensive and largest photographic archive of the Sept. 11 tragedy and its aftermath. As one article in The Wall Street Journal so aptly observed: “Each photograph speaks directly to what the people who were here saw and felt that day. Together, they become invaluable as both healing truth and indelible history.”
In keeping with the populist, democratic intent of the exhibition, all photographs are digitally scanned and printed to a standardized 11-by-16 inch format. In San Diego, as in New York, the photographs are clipped to wires stretched across the walls and ceiling. In order to underscore the importance of the images, rather than their makers, these photographs are presented without captions, without editing, and without attribution.