‘A cop asked me: “How can you take photographs?” I told him: “I have to document this. It’s history”’

I was asleep when the first plane hit. At the time, I lived just four blocks from the World Trade Center, right next to a hospital, a fire station and the HQ of the New York police. The sirens woke me up. They were nonstop. I turned on the television and saw one of the towers on fire. As I watched the second plane hit the south tower on TV, I also heard it because I lived so close.

I was working for Associated Press (AP) as a photo editor. I knew, as their closest staff member, that I should go out and document it. I got dressed, threw some film into my camera bag, and ran out to the World Trade Center. A lot of photography is like muscle memory. Even in a situation like this, your body knows exactly what to do. I remember a cop asking me: “How can you take photographs?” I told him: “I have to document this. It’s history.”

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