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Not Just Your Average Joe

Aug 22

In Friends, history, News at 10:57am

From the Faces of Ground Zero Project

Joe Hodges, Ladder 6, FDNY, 2001

On medical leave, Hodges was undergoing a stress test at a doctor’s office in Staten Island when the attacks occurred. A 20-year veteran of the DNY, he is eligible to retire but has no plans to do so anytime soon.

“I pulled myself off of medical leave and hiteched a ride on a tugboat to Manhattan. Knowing that everyone I worked with was in the buildings, I had to go. There are so many young guys on the job now, older guys like me have to show them the ropes. It’s a tradition in the fire department. Now’s not the time to leave.

Joe stayed on the job for several more years after 911. He was a quintessential go to guy in the house–veteran firefighter, always up for a laugh or a prank. I have to imagine guys like Joe are the glue that hold a whole firehouse together.  He’s retired now, and thoroughly enjoying that retirement, living out on Staten Island. We visited him recently, shot a few pictures, and had a beer. I know his wife Eileen, who calls him her hero, is happy to have him home and safe, no longer plunging into burning buidlings.

I caught up with Joe a few years back as well, and made a photo with him from Governor’s Island in the New York harbor on July 4th, 2005. For the technically minded, this is one small flash, off to camera right, TTL, and a six second exposure.

Joe’s images and story will be on the floor of the Time Warner Center in NYC, starting this Wednesday.

more tk….

Bob says:

on August 22, 2011 at 11:27 am

Joe – the images could stand alone, but your back stories keep me coming back every time. Thanks, again.

Vincent Mistetta says:

on August 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Joe, will you be present on Wed? If so what time and are you personally giving a presentation?

kyle jerichow says:

on August 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Wish I could be there for the show!

Good luck, and safe travels.

All the best,

Justin Morgan says:

on August 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm


The July 4th portrait with the fireworks is incredible! You continue to inspire unbelievable creativity! I look forward to seeing and hearing more about this project!

Good luck with the opening, and thank you for your undying support for those who sacrifice to serve us all!

Joe McNally says:

on August 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I’ll be there, but not giving a presentation, just talking to folks…

Craig Pulsifer says:

on August 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Hodge’s final pic with the GroundZero skyline… the placement, timing, exposure, color balance – the it all conspires to make us wonder what’s going through his mind – wow, I am seriously humbled. Nice work, Joe.

Craig Pulsifer says:

on August 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm


Hugo Carlone says:

on August 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I think the beauty of this project is that you have not registered it once, but followed the characters for nearly a decade. Congratulations on that!
I’m also a huge fan of yours. It’s a shame I’m so far away and won’t make it to the show.

Wayne says:

on August 23, 2011 at 5:46 am

I love that you used the reflections of the fireworks in the river to separate Joe. Great picture and great post.


Ruedi says:

on August 23, 2011 at 6:35 am

Such a great series! I admire the picture of Joe on the sofa. Would you care to explain how you lit it? And how did you get this brownish-orange tint over the whole picture?
Regards from Bern, Switzerland,

Allan says:

on August 24, 2011 at 4:09 am

Sad to see that they didn’t even Finnish your picture, it’s not nice to see the transition between backdrop and floor, but other than that pretty nice picture.

Mike M says:

on August 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Joe im sorry i missed this by 2 days but telling all my friends to get out to see this!
Great Series Awesome Subjects Great Job

School Ball Photographer says:

on August 26, 2011 at 4:55 am

Hi Joe, Just stumbled on your site for the first time – WOW! – Love your work. This series is just amazing. You have a new hard core fan. Nigel.

apj says:

on August 26, 2011 at 10:34 am

Thanks for the stories. Very emotional to see him standing there looking at the void. Love the portrait of him smiling. “Thank You!” to you and all our heroes.

Tom McKean says:

on September 1, 2011 at 8:57 am


It’s so wonderful that these folks from ground zero are back on display. Thank’s for such a magnificent exhibiit. Hope to see it before September 12th.


Laraine says:

on September 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I came out to see the exhibit and loved the updates on everyone. It was especially great to see Lou’s pics there, and here on the blog. We worked together around that time, and I haven’t seen him in quite a while. Big big hugs to my friend, whom I miss very much.

Many thanks to you for creating this updated exhibit!

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