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Ground Zero
Ground Zero

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Fire fighters search for survivors between the debris of the World Trade Center. Ash, smoke and shattered glass rained down on lower Manhattan following the destruction of the World Trade Center. For months after the September 11 attacks, rescue workers continued to work in thick dust, clearing the site, which came to be known as Ground Zero. The collapse of the twin towers, and buildings below destroyed by falling debris, killed almost 3,000 people. Initial estimates of a higher death toll fell as authorities identified who was and was not at the center that morning. The dead included more than 300 New York Fire Department members.

Commissioned by: VII for Time

Photo Credit: James Nachtwey

American photojournalist James Nachtwey (Massachusetts, 1948) graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1970, where he studied art history and political science.

Photographs of the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights movement inspired him to become a photographer. While teaching himself photography, he worked as truck driver and as an apprentice news film editor.

In 1980, after working for several years as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, he moved to New York to begin a career as a freelance magazine photographer. His first foreign assignment was to cover civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike. Since then, Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues, photographing ordinary peope in the cause of history. He has worked on extensive photographic essays in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States.

James Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time magazine since 1984. He was associated with Black Star from 1980 until 1985 and was a member of Magnum between 1986 and 2001. In 2001, he became of the founding members of the photo agency VII. He received numerous awards including two World Press Photo of the Year awards, five Robert Capa Gold Medals, the ICP Infinity Award and the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography. He is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and has an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art.

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