Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11
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Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  48 ratings  ·  8 reviews
The attack on the World Trade Center was the most watched event in human history. And the footage recorded that day came from myriad perspectives—from TV cameras and tourist snapshots to photographer Thomas E. Franklin’s iconic image of three firefighters raising the American flag at Ground Zero. David Friend explains how that week marked a phase change in the digital age,...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Picador (first published 2006)
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When Friend focuses on individual's stories of what happened on Sept. 11th he's excellent, including the strange tale of the WTC flag. But when he digresses into a discussion of the importance of visual media and the iconography of photographs, he loses me. I don't get what he's on about. Also very prone to sentimentality.

The Pentagon was attacked on the same day, and a fourth airliner was hijacked and crashed at the same time, but it was the attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre which dominated the television and print media. It's what we were looking at on CNN, and the other two planes were just items on the ticker in comparison.

That's because of the images. The photographs, the videos, the webcams. The planes endlessly looping into the towers, the smoke rising, the collapses, the dust clouds, th...more
Chelsey Langland
Friend used to work for Life magazine, and was, at the time this book was written, at Vanity Fair. The book is part story behind the images - where the photographers were, how they got the images, etc. and part commentary on how 9/11 was such a widely-viewed event, in part because of advances in digital technology.

There were some interesting stories here - most notably the photographer who took "The Falling Man" photo that many papers refused to run (it later spawned a documentary, which I've se...more
Debra S
Some books should come with a warning, read only in private and crying may ensue. Friend has revisited 9/111 and the many anecdotes of courage that occurred that day. While his focus was on photojournalists, photographers, and photography, he also recounted stories of those who died that day such as Rick Rescorla who amazingly saved so many lives by planning and preparing for just such an event.

Friend also discussed the importance of photos, not just moving images, in interpreting our reaction...more
Sobering, thought-provoking, sad. Really, here are the stories behind the 9/11 pictures. The stories behind the fatalities, the stories behind the survivors. The family that enlarged a "jumper" picture to try and identify their son because they never received any remains. It wasn't him, but they did identify him hanging out a north tower window assisting a woman. That was comforting to them. These are the heartbreaking stories everyone should know, even 10 years out of this 9/11 nightmare. As ha...more
Definitely an interesting and provocative account of September 11th and its aftermath in images. However, I think Friend spends too much time on recounting the experiences of various photographers without linking that to a larger analysis. He starts to correct this imbalance at the end, but he never really integrates these things, so the book always feels sort of scattered.
This was a very interesting and sad account of the events from 9/11. It was told by the people that survived it. It is a living history of the unbelievable tragedy in our US history.
This is an amazing analysis of the famous 911 pictures and how photography impacts us. It includes a history of photography, all the way up to the digital/internet age.
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