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A Sense of Place

Sep 5

In Friends, history, Links at 8:41am

Hi from Joe….please consider today’s blog an invitation to visit Scott Kelby’s blog…..

I did a story once on Korean green grocers in NYC. Running a produce shop in New York is a tough, 24 hour a day job. To make sure the story got off to a good start, I of course needed a picture of a green grocer that, ideally, showed the enterprise, and the all night, 24/7 nature of it, and, very importantly, show the reader we were talking about New York green grocers, not, you know, ones in San Francisco, or Seattle.

After a lot of scouting, and some pretty fast talking, I got these folks to allow me to shoot their shop. Reason being, of course, the Trade Centers give it a sense of place. They of course thought I was just going to take a picture, not load up their fruit bins with flash. Which is what I did. There’s a bunch of strobes in the store, all green gelled, with a magenta on the lens of the camera. Standard operating procedure for Kodachrome.

Like many NY shooters, I go way back with the Trade Centers, now gone. I write a bit of that story today in Scott Kelby’s blog. Scott, as always, was amazingly gracious in offering me a slot for a special blog post during this very significant week.

My thanks go out to him, and all the wonderful folks at NAPP. If you have a couple minutes, head over to Photoshop Insider, Scott’s blog. More tk….

Chris Ridley says:

on September 5, 2011 at 8:49 am

Awesome photograph Joe, it looks so natural too. :)

Peter says:

on September 5, 2011 at 8:50 am

Thanks for your insight. Maybe it’s because its the 10yr, but I picked out the Trade Centers right away. I hope you can share more from this shoot.
Thanks Joe. You’re work is awesome.

Stephen Beckman says:

on September 5, 2011 at 8:57 am

Thanks for the blog, I learn so much from your writing. A significant weekend indeed, can’t wait to get to las Vegas for PSW.

kyle jerichow says:

on September 5, 2011 at 9:59 am

Kamila and I read your guest spot on Scott’s Blog…very well written…it brought back a lot of memories I had of where I was and what I felt when it happened and the aftermath…

Being in Korea, I can only imagine the talking that had to go on before you were allowed to take this picture….props :). I love Korea Town. I can’t wait to get back to The City.

All the best,
Kyle and Kamila

Marc says:

on September 5, 2011 at 11:34 am


I just wanted to say “thank you” for having the insight and fortitude to start this project ten years ago. I’m sure at the time a lot of people were thinking, “How could making portraits be of any importance at a time like this?” Well, it is important. Especially in a time like that. All of those firefighters, police officers, other emergency workers and just regular caring citizens bore witness for the thousands who lost their lives in the towers. You in turn bore witness for them.

I did visit the Giant Polaroids in person last week. What a profound experience. I’ve been telling all my friends that they really need to go and experience it for themselves. I urge everyone to do the same.

Bob says:

on September 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Joe – We went to see the Faces of Ground Zero exhibit yesterday. It was powerful and moving. Time Warner building gets lots of foot traffic, even on a Sunday. Most people could not just walk by. They stopped, took in the images and read the accompanying stories. In a city that is always moving, that says volumes.

Thank you for sharing these images and the retelling of the stories it is important that their voice is still heard.

Rick Lewis says:

on September 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Joe, thanks for being Joe McNally and thanks for your latest project.

Matt Timmons says:

on September 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I went down to Time Warner Center today to see the exhibit first hand. My favorite was of the little girl Kristin, mother and brother (I think that was her name), with her hands over her eyes. I can’t tell if she’s hiding, crying, shy or what, but it’s captivating. “Favorite” could be a poor choice of description, but it’s the one that made me stand there the longest and think about that families’ loss and what they must have been feeling as that giant polaroid clicked. Great photo, terrible reason for it. My thoughts go out to all of them.

joop says:

on September 6, 2011 at 4:33 am

What a photo, Joe!
I have so much respect for you, you have no idea!

Debra says:

on September 6, 2011 at 8:51 am

Thank you Joe, this photo pulls at my heart, for what we have lost, and the cost. I look forward though, to your images of the new trade center, and the memorial.

Chris Latham says:

on September 6, 2011 at 9:42 am


This is an object lesson in why photographers should be seen as artists with a front row for the unveiling of history. From Dorothea Lange through to contemporaries like yourself, I have nothing but admiration for the work you’ve made.

The subject matter here in its own right is inspirational but put that in the context of the ‘Trades and this is historical. The photograph, at least to me based here in the UK, shows the multi-cultural aspects of one of my favourite cities on Earth, yet it serves as a reminder of the differences we have yet to overcome.

Thanks for sharing.

Linnea says:

on September 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Been having a lot of fun with one of your books lately. Thank you!

matt haines says:

on September 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm

The green gel/magenta gel wasn’t on there because you were shooting Kodachrome…it was on there so you could get a purple sunset, right? Magenta makes the nice sunset, and the green gels on the strobes offset that to yield ‘neutral’ for the subject. I mention this because this technique can still be used, whether shooting film or digital.

Chip says:

on September 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Great photo!!! As usual I mean… :)

RedSphere Photography says:

on September 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Amazing shot Joe! The photo does indeed look very natural, the balance of light is outstanding!

Liz/Germany says:

on September 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm

spent a weekend in NYC,had heard about the exhibition,so especially took a walk up to TWB on Sept.2nd to see the “Faces of 9/11” : heartbreaking stories! awsome work by Joe!
Visit brought back memories of my (safe) situation the day it
happened.And also of my visit a year later at one of the
NYFD-stations and my talk with the firefighters there: has been heartbreaking,too.

Liz Echelmeyer (Germany) says:

on September 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

spent a weekend in NYC, had heard about the exhibition,
so specifically took a walk up to TWB to see the “Faces of 9/11” :
heartbreaking lifestories! awesome work, Joe!
Visit brought back memories of my (safe) situation the day
it happened and also of my visit the following year
to one of the NYFD-stations and talking to the firefighters there:
heartbreaking then, too.
Thank you for sharing and for putting the exhibit together!!

kevin glackmeyer says:

on September 12, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I know it’s been an emotional ride the past couple weeks…before you know it, we’ll be at the 20th…you did good bud. cheers.

Grayce Dasilua says:

on October 9, 2011 at 1:37 am

usually posts some very exciting stuff like this. If you’re new to this website.

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