1/400s, f/1.2, ISO 1250, 50mm
Last week, I made a brief visit to the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site. The design made me skeptical, mostly because it seemed too somber and not forward-looking enough. Designed by Michael Arad, the center piece of the memorial is a park with two square pools of falling water marking the footprints of the Twin Towers. The water in each pool flows into a square pit--a seemingly bottomless void. Large bronze plates surround the pools and carry the victims' names. The sound of the falling water is surprisingly loud and drowns out a good amount of the city noise.
Experiencing the memorial in person is truly moving. The scale, the darkness, and the roaring sound of the water invoke the destruction and the depth of the tragedy. It's a powerful combination that undoubtedly will lead most people to reflect on the event and what happened in its aftermath. Sadly, that's a depressing exercise, especially when watching night come on during a rigidly cold January afternoon. And it leads back to my concern that the memorial really doesn't look forward or communicate something hopeful about the future. I worry that the solemnness and scale will make it difficult for the memorial to integrate into the city and age well, and I wonder if more light and useable green space could have done a better job of balancing the past, present, and future.
In my photos, I have tried to provide as elegant a portrait of what are, despite the drawbacks, strikingly beautiful structures. Click on below the fold for two more shots, an iPhone panorama of the south pool, and a 360 degree view of the park made with Photosynth.
1/400s, f/1.2, ISO 800, 50mm
1/640s, f/1.2, ISO 800, 50mm