THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY

ABOVE GROUND ZERO

MUSEUM WALL TEXT

On September 15, 2001, Gregg Brown received a phone call at two oʼclock in the morning asking whether he could do aerial photography. Hours later he was hired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make photographs above the smoldering remains of the World Trade Center site. Every day he was flown over the ruins in a New York City Police Department helicopter while he photographed the fires and shifting debris piles in order to assist the New York City Fire Department in its rescue and cleanup efforts. After each dayʼs work the exposed film was developed, contact sheets of the color negatives were produced and labeled with date and time, and a set of photographs was printed. Then the prints were delivered to the NYFD and later to the New York City Department of Design and Construction, which hired him to continue the project as the cleanup proceeded. His daily aerial documentation of the WTC site and then the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, where most of the debris was taken, continued until May 2002. By the end he had exposed about 30,000 frames of film and printed 643 contact sheets and thousands of color photographs. This gallery contains an excerpt of this unparalleled archive.