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Shooting history

By Robert T. Bennett III '98

Approximately three blocks from Ground Zero. All we could do was sit and watch in awe. The absurdity of this event kept us glued to our television sets. Out of the dark rises a beautiful soft white cloud.I know it doesn't make sense. I can't seem to explain sufficiently to anyone why I went there. My apartment on 79th St. was at least four miles from "Ground Zero." But I just felt a pull. It was more than a curiosity. I'd never felt this full of purpose before. It seems fateful that only two days earlier I had returned to photography after a long sabbatical. Filling my knapsack with a camera, a pair of lenses, some film and water, I was out the door and quickly heading south down Lexington Avenue. I passed thousands of people with wide eyes, out of breath and scurrying in the opposite direction.

It was absurd. What would my mother think? Where am I going? Is this a good shot? You see, taking pictures brought me close to the lady in the blue pinstripe suit, the abandoned bicycle with a rainbow of rhinestones, the chilling magnificence of the cloud of dust before me. Shocking, unbelievable, amazing, breathtaking, awesome.

Vesey Street and North End Avenue: The towers had fallen. The chaos was somehow serene. Confidential legal and financial documents shuffled softly between my feet. Charred and pierced love letters, vacation schedules and family photos played footsie with long-faced firefighters with nothing to do. Really, there was nothing to do. No one was screaming for help, the ground was burning without fire, and there was no one to protect anymore. It's amazing, and it still doesn't make sense.

Robert T. Bennett III '98 was born and raised in Reading, Mass. His first photography instructor was his father. He now resides in New York City where he works as a telecommunications consultant with The Bennett Group. His 9/11 photos have drawn interest from Time and were published in the New York Post. Bennett has done photo essays on Scotland, England, Holland, France, Spain, Italy, Jamaica and the Canary Islands. He is currently working with the producer/director of a documentary on the firefighters involved in 9/11. Bennett welcomes your thoughts and can be reached via email at rtbiii@bennettgroup.net.


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