A photograph that made me think


The Falling man by Richard Drew is one of the rawest, more disturbing photographs I have seen, and upon its publication in The New York times it was greeted with anger and distress. It was not seen for a long time afterwards; audiences had rarely seen such a personal account of the bombings, and it hits hard because audiences must know of his impending death.

Not only is the photograph so strong psychologically, but also aesthetically, the way the man intersects the two tones of the building perfectly, matching his apparent gracefulness in such a stressful situation – it looks as if he is falling straight down but the photo was in fact one of many, he is really tumbling through the air out of control, perhaps already passed out from the shock. It makes me think about how this was his last resort, whether he was blown out of the building or was forced to jump. In my mind I compare his calm pose to that of an aerial rope dancer or trapeze artist, it looks as if he is in no struggle and expresses little emotion just like one of these dancers, adding to the eerie mood of the image.

Albert Rendle

L1 Photography, University of the West of England


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