The weather broke yesterday after days of temps in the 90s, so I decided to go down to the World Trade Center site for another round of photographs. This is my fourth or fifth visit with the view camera. The biggest difficulty for me is that there are few vantage points available for making photographs with a camera on a tripod. A small army of security guards working for various property owners and institutions enforces the one firm rule governing photography on “private” property–no tripods. Private is in quotations because there are so many areas that are ambiguous public/private realms with no signs or the signs that are there clearly state that the public is welcome. The public may be welcome. A hundred people could be simultaneously taking snapshots, but put a tripod down and you’re kicked out. It’s gotten so ridiculous that I usually just work quickly, get a shot or two off, and then leave once the nearest rent-a-cop springs into action. God help us if something really serious were to happen–these guys are useless.
Construction is in full swing across the site with 1 World Trade Center up 20 or more floors, and Tower 4 is also well above ground. The Calatrava designed transportation center is still mostly below grade, and the memorial waterfalls are not visible unless you go to a higher viewing level.
Tourist wander aimlessly about dodging construction equipment, navigating sidewalks to nowhere, reading a forest of contradictory signage, all the while attempting to see and understand what is going on.
The best place to see the whole site, though still not high enough, is from behind the glass wall at the top of the stairs in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. I did a photograph of tourists looking out from the Winter Garden–just managed get off one 4×5 image before being ordered to vamoose.
An unofficial Twin Towers memorial just to the north of ground zero. I was all packed up by the time I reached this spot, so I only shot it with my digital camera. But I will come back with the 4×5 in the future. Despite the difficulties of working around the WTC, I am getting good stuff. The idea is to come back from time to time, slowing building a series of photographs that documents the rebuilding and captures some of the craziness of the ground zero atmosphere. I have no doubt that when the memorial is completed there will be a ban on tripods, and I will be one of the last view camera photographers left.