I was not a New Yorker on that September morning 12 years ago. I was not even a photographer. I was just in the third grade when the towers went down.
Having lived in New York for five years, it’s hard not to build a personal connection to 9/11. Despite being fortunately to have not been personally impacted by attack, I live and work with so many people who experienced it firsthand that it’s hard not to feel a little retrospective every year around that time in September.
I started photographing the Tribute in Lights three years ago for a photojournalism class at NYU, and it has since become a tradition. Although I find myself photographing the NYC skyline several times throughout the year, there’s just something about those 88 spotlights ethereally extended to the heavens that lights up my eyes and camera’s sensor.
This year was especially special, as it is really the first time the new One World Trade Center has taken form, rising above the skyline—though not as high as the spotlights. It was also special because I was using the opportunity to teach my girlfriend Cara some photographic know-how. We spent several hours photographing downtown Manhattan beneath the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Hours of stitching and editing and I finally ended up with the image I envisioned. We like it so much it will soon appear as the center piece in our apartment, mounted on a giant canvas.