Falling Man
August 10, 2006 10:56 PM   Subscribe

Falling Man: the many faces of a 9/11 riddle chronicles the attempts of Tom Junod to identify the "falling man" photographed by Richard Drew on September 11, 2001. Junod wrote an Esquire article about the Falling Man in September 2003 (August 2003 NPR interview) that inspired a documentary. The Falling Man may have been Jonathan Briley.
posted by kirkaracha (58 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Um...is it just me or is the cycling advertisement on the 2nd page of the lead link just a little (accidentally) insensitive?
posted by jimmythefish at 11:16 PM on August 10, 2006

Seeing people jump from the towers is probably the most horrific image I have ever seen. Some were holding hands in groups of four or fives as they jumped. Some tried to slide down the side of the building, but quickly lost any grip. Some tried to hold onto the window panes until they couldn't take the smoke and heat anymore. They were acts of total desperation. I can't fathom being brought to that point.
posted by Titania at 11:28 PM on August 10, 2006

I suspect if I were in an oven I'd choose to jump out of it. It's one of the things that haunts me most about that day.

God damn, that was a long fall.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:29 PM on August 10, 2006

Um...is it just me or is the cycling advertisement on the 2nd page of the lead link just a little (accidentally) insensitive?

The one with the street light falling on the car?
posted by delmoi at 11:30 PM on August 10, 2006

This one:

posted by jimmythefish at 11:42 PM on August 10, 2006

That Esquire piece was awful. Terrible, terrible writing.
posted by dobbs at 11:46 PM on August 10, 2006

i wonder if the hanged man pose was intended by the jumper, selected by the photographer, or just coincidental. were the gods trying to tell us something?
posted by waxboy at 11:52 PM on August 10, 2006

That's the image I flash on when I get a 9-11 flash. People should find it disturbing; but, it shouldn't be censored.
posted by taosbat at 11:53 PM on August 10, 2006

Painful post, kirkaracha.

jimmythefish, What an outrageous ad to have on that page! Disgusting! I didn't see that ad on any of the links I went to, I guess the ads change.

Interesting video interviews with photographers of 9/11.

Now that it's almost five years since that day, it would seem like it's possible to look at what was unbearable but it's still really awful. I feel tenderly for the falling people's families.

Utterly heartbreaking to think about the agonising, unthinkable ordeal of falling to one's death, in shock, not knowing what happened.

A snip from Dawn Landes on A Well Dressed Man [mp3].

Others falling against the pinstripes of the tower.

It seems so cruel to me that anyone could say the people who died by falling were "jumpers" or suicided. They faced certain death, either by torturous fire or blunt trauma by falling on the pavement far below. Death or death. No choice.
posted by nickyskye at 12:10 AM on August 11, 2006

Of course, it is the journalist's (and in this case, photojournalist's) mission in life to get to the bottom of every story, to get the facts, the who, what, where and even sometimes why, but for me, in this case, it seems somehow better that we never know for sure exactly who this person was. It strikes me as a most disagreeable sort of voyeurism. Ultimately, I don't think it matters that we know, or that we are able to affix a name to this person. And it may well be that this person himself wouldn't have wanted us to know. Just my opinion.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:25 AM on August 11, 2006

In New York's 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire^, dozens of the 145 women trapped on the three upper floors jumped to their deaths to escape the flames. From the book, Triangle: The Fire That Changed America:
A young woman stood in a window as flames flickered around her. She flung her hat grandly into the air. Then she opened her purse and threw all the money down. Then she jumped. Two young women wrestled at another window. One was trying to keep the other one from jumping. She failed and her friend went down. The one remaining, Sally Winetrowd, steadied herself against the building, raised her hands and began gesturing.

To those watching from far below she appeared to be delivering a speech to the nearby beautiful air. She finished speaking and followed her friend. Shepherd [William Gun Shepherd, a newspaper reporter] saw a young man wearing a hat appear in a Washington place window. The man helped a young woman step onto the window sill, then held her away from the building like a dancer perhaps or, as Shepherd put it, 'like a man helping a woman into a streetcar. He let go.

He held out a second girl in the same way and then let her drop,' Shepherd wrote. 'Then he held out a third girl. They didn't resist. The fourth one was apparently his sweetheart. Amazed, the bystanders saw them embrace and kiss. Then he held her out into space and dropped her, but quick as a flash he was on the windowsill himself. His coat flattened upward, the air filled his trouser legs. I could see that he wore tan shoes and hose. His hat remained on his head.'
Here are photos of the building and a 94th anniversary memorial held in March 2005.
posted by cenoxo at 12:42 AM on August 11, 2006

I consider it one of the universe's many blessings that I'm so nearsighted that - even though I obsessively watched the coverage on television on that day - that I couldn't see the people who jumped to their deaths.

It truly was no choice; death by fire or death by falling. I wish their families any peace they may happen to find.
posted by Space Kitty at 12:52 AM on August 11, 2006

Um...is it just me or is the cycling advertisement on the 2nd page of the lead link just a little (accidentally) insensitive?

I thought u meant this - on the first page of the first link - which is also accidentaly offensive - perhaps some sort of targetted marketing.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
posted by Meccabilly at 1:02 AM on August 11, 2006

I think yours is even worse...
posted by jimmythefish at 1:06 AM on August 11, 2006

Falling Man is, for my money, one of the best documentary photographs ever. It's an important image of a major historical atrocity, but it's also a great work of visual art in its own right. It feels a bit sick to interpret a man's death in terms of artistic value, but such is photojournalism.
posted by stammer at 3:56 AM on August 11, 2006

you shoulda seen 'em land.
posted by quonsar at 4:22 AM on August 11, 2006

stammer it's not art, except in your mind.. I have an odd looking tomato you may like to put into historical context.
posted by econous at 6:22 AM on August 11, 2006

posted by stammer at 6:32 AM on August 11, 2006

I came way closer than I ever want to dying twice that day, when the 2nd plane hit right above me on Church St. and when Tower 2 collapsed. But I'm probably most thankful I didn't see any jumpers.
posted by chris24 at 6:51 AM on August 11, 2006

I read that Esquire article, and there's this terrible, surely unintentional irony in it.

The article is about the search for an unidentified person in a powerful photograph.

He says at one point:
[Holocaust pictures] were shown, as Richard Drew's photographs of the freshly assassinated Robert Kennedy were shown. They were shown, as the photographs of Ethel Kennedy pleading with photographers not to take photographs were shown. They were shown as the photograph of the little Vietnamese girl running naked after a napalm attack was shown. They were shown as the photograph of Father Mychal Judge, graphically and unmistakably dead, was shown
One of these things is not like the other.

The "little Vietnamese girl" has a name. She's called Kim Phuc. She's married, she has children, she lives in Canada. There are books about her. She does public speaking engagements and raises money for charity. Lots of people assume she's anonymous or that she died, which is fair enough, depending which version of the picture you've seen.

But it's a little strange that a professional journalist, focusing on exactly this issue, should have talked about her image in such a shallow way.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 7:02 AM on August 11, 2006

Whenever I see any picture of anyone falling or jumping from any height it still takes me right back to that day. I was standing below the WTC on Church street after the first plane hit. I'd just come up from the subway. I thought it was just a fire. There were a couple of hundred of us, probably, standing in the street watching. A groan went up from the crowd as bodies dropped from the windows. Someone next to me said "That's never the answer." After a minute or two I couldn't watch any more, I turned to go and there was a whuuuuuuump! sound and all hell broke loose.

Funny how, five years later, there's still the compulsion to tell that. As if every telling lessens the pressure of carrying it around. I think of journalism like this as an attempt to do the same thing on a larger scale.
posted by papercake at 7:02 AM on August 11, 2006

perhaps some sort of targetted marketing

Talk about Google-style advertising gone horribly wrong.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:04 AM on August 11, 2006

AmbroseChapel, that was an interesting little article, thank you. I've never known her name or that she lived.

One thing bothers me in it, at the end:

Even though pictures [are taken] in every war, they still show the picture of Kim. They don't want it to happen again - not napalm.

I mean, if only we could take this attitude about all the horrible weapons we still use to this day.
posted by agregoli at 7:08 AM on August 11, 2006

I thought it was just a fire. Would have been ok in that case. Obv.
posted by econous at 7:39 AM on August 11, 2006

posted by mendel at 7:45 AM on August 11, 2006

Yeah, econous. That's exactly what I meant.
posted by papercake at 7:47 AM on August 11, 2006

papercake sorry I interpreted your comment as being somewhat flippant. Actually just that 'just' bit. Obviously it wasn't. So sorry.
posted by econous at 8:02 AM on August 11, 2006

No worries, econous. The "just" shouldn't be there. I just tend to use just too often. It's just a problem I have. Obviously, a fire would have been horrible, as well.
posted by papercake at 8:10 AM on August 11, 2006

The Fall is a powerful essay on that picture.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:13 AM on August 11, 2006

While I can intellectually understand why family members would be upset at the idea of their lost loved one being the Falling Man, in my heart I can't see that figure as tragic. Or any more tragic than the rest of those who died.

Maybe it's because I'm not religious and I don't have that restriction on suicide, but it seems to me that the act of jumping, at that point, is courageous and just a little beautiful.

To me the Falling Man says, "Yes I'm dying, but I'm dying on my terms. I will not die in fear in smoke and fire, I will die in the air, in the light." And that's beautiful. It's horrible that anyone has to die, and I know that falling from that height is not the poetic flying we'd like to think it is; but compared to smoke and fire...I'd make the same decision. It's not suicide, it's not giving up, it's reclaiming some agency in one's fate. To me, it says "I am not a victim."
posted by teleri025 at 8:21 AM on August 11, 2006 [7 favorites]

"I mean, if only we could take this attitude about all the horrible weapons we still use to this day."

I take this attitude about war in general, and the images we're discussing here are examples of reasons why I do.

We need to know their names. We need to ensure these images don't get censored. We need to see them and we need to know their identities. Lest we forget.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:22 AM on August 11, 2006

Sorry, google cache of "The Fall."
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:27 AM on August 11, 2006

We need to know their names. We need to ensure these images don't get censored. We need to see them and we need to know their identities. Lest we forget.

Not so sure about this one myself. There's power in the universality of the jumper; the Unknown Soldier aspect. Everyone can project their own losses, fears, anger etc. on this nameless, faceless, pure, horrifying moment, which is somewhat lost as soon as their individuality is brought to light.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:39 AM on August 11, 2006

teleri025, that was moving. Thanks.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:40 AM on August 11, 2006

The Unknown Soldier isn't really... real. I mean he's like a.. saint maybe? Or an angel? It's like when enemies demonize their opponent in the eyes of the innocents to rally support for their cause. They have to make people forget who they are, that they are essentially human just like us, so that we support their war against the infidels.

I want the Unknown Soldier to be known. I want to look into his eyes and feel the beat of his heart.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:49 AM on August 11, 2006

...so hopefully someday we'll stop having the need for soldiers, known or not.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:51 AM on August 11, 2006

Tumbling Woman

All of the things that my high school art teacher taught us that art is capable of doing for society are constantly thwarted. I can't believe that people let their reaction of "offense" to particular artworks dictate whether or not they should be publicly displayed. Especially considering how much advertising gets a free pass and monopolizes every view of the city. I'd rather confront images and ideas regarding the reality of 9/11 on my daily commute than endless posters for "One Tree Hill".
posted by hermitosis at 9:07 AM on August 11, 2006

What stands out to me as amazing is that pictures like the ones we are discussing here are seen as tasteless, but milking 9/11 and its victims at election time -- not to mention to sell a bloody war -- seems quite kosher.

It reminds me of an old saying -- kill a man and you're a murderer. Kill thousands and you're a great military leader. Go bankrupt because you're short $10k and you'll lose your house; if you're short $10 million, you get to keep your many houses and even your limo driver.
posted by clevershark at 9:22 AM on August 11, 2006

ZachsMind I think you're conflating two ideas: the Faceless Enemy and the Unknown Soldier. The (tomb of) the Unknown Soldier is a way a nation or group honors their dead soldiers who died unidentified. It's an acknowledgemnet that in any war or lethal conflict there will be those who die without witnesses around, sometimes horribly alone, abandoned or lost in the confusion of battle. This is the way the anonymity of the Falling Man can be viewed. His image represents every person who died whose stories can't be known because nobody got out to tell it.

The the anonymity we impose on the faceless enemy is an act of removing their personhood so that we may do violence on them and justify it to ourselves. Making them faceless is just our first act of violence.
posted by tula at 9:27 AM on August 11, 2006

The Catholic Hernandez family — whose motto is “together forever” — could not bring themselves to believe the Falling Man was their father. “By calling him the jumper,” says Catherine, another of Hernandez’s three daughters, “you’re saying that his soul is damned. You’re telling me he’s in hell.”

I'm going to assume that Ms. Hernandez is about 10 years old, because if she's not, this statement is unfathomably ignorant. I can't imagine any religion in the world that would consider such a thing suicide.
posted by psmealey at 10:14 AM on August 11, 2006

I saw the documentary and it wasn't very good.
posted by smackfu at 10:16 AM on August 11, 2006

We don't really have unknown soldiers any more thanks to DNA testing, which identified the Vietnam War's Unknown Soldier, John Blassie. (I guess Secretary Rumsfeld would call him a known unknown.)

Detailed recap of Kim Phuc's recovery and later life.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:59 AM on August 11, 2006

The difference between the man in the image and the Unknown Soldier is that this man may be seen as the Unknown Civilian. The unknown soldiers went to war and died; unknown civilians have war brought upon them.

We see daily images from all over the world of unknown civilians -- wounded, dead and dying, or crying over their lost ones. If this one arrests us, it is because he is our Unknown Civilian.

I think if people feel something of the Unknown Civilian in this picture, we might look at the daily images of unknown civilians with more open eyes. Maybe we won't be so quick to forget who they are, that they are essentially human just like us.
posted by taosbat at 11:10 AM on August 11, 2006

psmealey writes "I'm going to assume that Ms. Hernandez is about 10 years old, because if she's not, this statement is unfathomably ignorant. I can't imagine any religion in the world that would consider such a thing suicide."

As someone who was raised catholic, I can tell you that you have no idea how much the practices of that particular brand of Xianity depend on denial. You're attracted to MOTSS? That's God testing you, it's your responsibility to pretend you're not and live a miserable life. Depressed? Suicide is a mortal sin! The leaders of the Catholic Church preach the value of poverty at the altar, and retire to their marble-and-gold palace in Rome.

No wonder Bernard Cardinal Law is given such a place of honor in the Vatican. He's the ultimate example of management by denial.
posted by clevershark at 11:12 AM on August 11, 2006

the most terrifying part of this off-the-charts sad story is that the guy not only had the rotten luck of finding himself there, but he didn't even have the chance of dying like all the others who jumped. he also has to suffer the indignity of having pricks like the Esquire guy trying to find out his identity (and really, that was a horribly written piece, is that the same writer who outed Kevin Spacey?)

and all of that because, for a split second, that guy was falling at a perfectly perpendicular angle, and his dying looks, well, good.

it's bad luck, cubed. he'll always be a representative of, well, something, for a lazy media and a lazy public. let him rest in peace.
posted by matteo at 11:13 AM on August 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

"for a split second, that guy was falling at a perfectly perpendicular angle, and his dying looks, well, good."


You say "good" - with exasperated heat and in a negative way. I certainly grasp your point.

But I see a death defamiliarized again. I thought I knew what a "faller" looked like. Even though I didn't seek out those particular pictures of 9/11, I couldn't avoid them. This man - yes, the image of him, the angle of him, was unnaturally tidy; it was therefore more unforgettable.

It did its job as an image in a day of many, many competing, extreme images. I felt it curbed my "laziness", not pandered to it. (I think.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:26 PM on August 11, 2006

chris24 and papercake, I'm truly glad you are alive, that you lived and survived that day.

Yes, I think retelling a traumatic story helps to incrementally process the overwhelming feelings that come up.

It seems so wrong to me that somebody would callously/thoughtlessly say "That's never the answer." about people falling out of the burning tower. There was no choice to live or die, which is the choice when it comes to suicide. The options on 9/11 at the WTC were to live for seconds being burned alive or live for seconds before hitting the ground.

Stanley J. Forman's photograph of two victims falling from a building's fire escape during a fire in 1975 won him a Pulitzer. " But more important, his work paved the way for Boston and other states to mandate tougher fire safety codes."

That controversial photo of 19-year-old Diana Bryant and her two-year-old goddaughter, Tiare Jones, falling made a deep impression on me. Diana's body broke the fall for the little girl, who lived. I did a painting of it in 1975 called Double Echo. The image caused me to think about suffering in the world and the impermanence of life. It was one of the many reasons Buddhism made sense to me, because it faced those issues philosophically.

cenoxo, Thanks for the poignant reminder of the women who died in the Traingle Shirtwaist Fire of 911, I mean 1911. Those who died inspired building owners and the government to build many more fire escapes, to make fire exits an important part of construction.

A nextdoor neighbor, Mary H., burned 80% of her body in an accidental fire in 1988. She survived the torture 3 days in the Cornell Burn Unit ( now renamed William Randolph Hearst Burn Center) before being released to death. When I went to the burn unit to visit her, I told the nurses, who wouldn't let me in at first, that I'd lived in India and there wasn't anything horrifying I hadn't seen. I was so wrong. Human burn wounds are staggering, horrific. I have intense respect for the nurses and doctors who attend to those in a burn unit. And, of course, for the firemen, who see this kind of trauma on a weekly basis, year after year. What incredible courage they have.

teleri025, That was so beautifully said. Yes, those who fell made a choice, not to burn alive but to fall. I wonder how much of a conscious choice it actually is in seconds of unimaginable inferno, thousands of gallons of jet fuel burning at approximately 1500 degrees F (enough to melt steel much less infinitely more fragile -images of burns- human flesh) and how much the body/involuntary mind takes over and says, "Out. Anywhere but here".
posted by nickyskye at 12:52 PM on August 11, 2006 [2 favorites]

nickyskye, thanks. It was from the heart. As to the choice, much like believing in anything, I like to believe it was a choice and a conscious one rather than a lemming-like urge to breathe fresh air.

Of course, we all choose to believe things that may or may not be true just to keep us sane. This is one of mine.
posted by teleri025 at 1:01 PM on August 11, 2006

it's bad luck, cubed. he'll always be a representative of, well, something, for a lazy media and a lazy public. let him rest in peace.

I have to agree. As with the Cosgrove 911 tape posted here a couple weeks ago, the takehome lesson is that we've become a nation of complete strangers, waiting and willing to hear and watch each other's dying gasps via our media and entertainment outlets.

The question isn't what the public gains in understanding 9/11 by tracking down the identity of this victim — which is nothing, really — but rather how much humanity we've lost since then, in consuming this flavor of death voyeurism that our media happily sells us.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:22 PM on August 11, 2006

Re the 1911 Triangle Fire, nickyskye said: Those who died inspired building owners and the government to build many more fire escapes...

Sadly, their inspiration for change only came after several years that included an investigation, two trials and 23 civil suits against the building owners, and much public outrage.

You know, like now.
posted by cenoxo at 1:54 PM on August 11, 2006

One of the most interesting things about the article was the notion that --for some reason-- out of this huge mass tragedy, we, as a nation, have seized upon this one aspect to make taboo: the 'jumpers.' I agree with the posters who think that the decision --conscious or otherwise-- to seize control of what remains of your life by taking the one action that you can take under extreme duress bespeaks a deep and admirable human courage that most people are never --and hopefully WILL never-- be in touch with. It is an acknowledgement of a hidden strength we hope we'll never have to utilize. It engenders respect and awe. But not repugnance and avoidance. At least not in me. I wonder about the people who think of this in terms of voyeurism; do they see something I don't? Curious.
posted by umberto at 3:15 PM on August 11, 2006

However small, there's always a chance. After the Empire State Building was accidentally struck by a B-25 on July 28, 1945, elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver beat death twice:
It has long been believed that the elevator operator who fell 75 stories was operating her elevator when the crash severed the cables to her car. Our recent investigation found that Betty Lou Oliver had actually been thrown from her car station post during the aircraft's initial impact. When the plane hit the building, Oliver's car was parked at the 80th floor. The crash severed elevator cables, but those supporting Oliver's car remained intact, although they and many other cable attachments were weakened. After receiving care for severe burns, Oliver was taking another elevator down from the 80th floor first aid station when this second car's weakened cables snapped, sending Oliver and her elevator on a 1,000-foot plunge.
Earlier in WWII, turret gunner S/Sgt. Alan Magee jumped out of his burning B-17 without a chute at 20,000 feet and survived.
posted by cenoxo at 5:18 PM on August 11, 2006

cenoxo, That is mind-blowing about Betty Lou Oliver's survival. I've heard a number of falling out of planes and surviving stories. How the hell does that happen?

Blazecock Pileon, It would seem that human beings have, for thousands of years, been entertained by tragedy. Maybe entertainment is a vulgar word but not all entertainment is vulgar. Entertainment can be learning, being inspired, uplifted, educated for no commercial reason, even healed...

"The word's origin is Greek tragōidiā (Classical Greek τραγωδία) contracted from trag(o)-aoidiā = "goat song" from tragos = "goat" and aeidein = "to sing"."

"The philosopher Aristotle theorized in his work The Poetics that tragedy results in a catharsis (emotional cleansing) of healing for the audience through their experience of these emotions in response to the suffering of the characters in the drama."

Knowing we are impermanent creatures and that death will come to each of us, unpredictably, in spite of our best efforts to avoid it, it would stand to reason there is a lot to be fascinated by in death, human death. And it's not as if many of us have much contact with real death, not the canned movie version but the brutal or surprising truth of authentic death.

Many people go to the burning ghats all over India to watch the corpses be cremated to see what death looks like, what a corpse looks like, what a burning corpse looks like. Or volunteers work with Mother Theresa's crew, knowing they were comforting the dying. People volunteer in the West in hospices, spending time with people who are facing the imminence of death.

I do think some people may observe death or dying with a corrupt mind, for thrills of some macabre sort and other people may want to see death to know it for authentic curiosity, sincere reasons and pathos.
posted by nickyskye at 7:18 PM on August 11, 2006

Thanks nickyskye.
posted by chris24 at 7:23 PM on August 11, 2006

[O]ther people may want to see death to know it for authentic curiosity, sincere reasons and pathos.

I would suspect those people are in a significant minority of the audience for the Cosgrovesque thrills presented so far. At the end of the day, either way, a profit is made for its publishers by virtue of its exploitive exposition.

Its consumers are the real tragedy, not the death victim. Catharsis begins with those same folks acquiring a genuine understanding of the causal roots of 9/11, not exercising a mindless, obsessive curiosity about the brutal nature of death that resulted therefrom.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:50 PM on August 11, 2006

Catharsis begins with those same folks acquiring a genuine understanding of the causal roots of 9/11

I don't think catharsis works like that, through logical study.

Prior to the awful deaths of 9/11 I didn't find it common for many Americans to want to know about the Mid-East or Asia, which is quite a common topic these days. Why 9/11 happened is one subject, the actual deaths of each of the people who died is another story, more personally moving because it's possible to think of individuals, the reality for each, rather than the abstract, complex political brocade that was the foundation for those events.

mindless, obsessive curiosity about the brutal nature of death that resulted therefrom

Sometimes when I fear that people are mindlessly obsessed with death, I find they are more often than not inspired into dialogue and contemplation by it.
posted by nickyskye at 11:30 PM on August 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

I think this photograph is essential. We cannot turn away from it, and I think the American media was wrong to yank the picture. There is something to be said for privacy, for dying in peace and obscurity. But millions of Americans don't know anybody who died that day, and we need to have somebody to connect with. It's why Anne Frank became so popular - because she was a human connection to an unimaginable event. She was not the only diarist during the Holocaust, and she was not the only teenager who died (I have a book called We Are Witnesses, which has excerpts from five other teenage diaries from that period), but Anne Frank is, for many people, our only link to that historic event. Tragic events - 9/11, the Holocaust, the 1906 earthquake - need to be remember just as much as happy ones. Like Anne Frank, the Falling Man is our human link to the dozens of people who made that choice.

And I really like what the photographer said: he wasn't capturing a man's death, he was capturing his life. The choice to jump was the last decision the Falling Man ever made. The picture records that choice, the taking of matters into one's own hands, the active decision-making. That is life, not death.

Finally, this photograph is perhaps the most disturbing "jumper" picture I have seen. It's the only one that demonstrates the magnitude of the event...how many there were.
posted by etoile at 12:40 PM on August 15, 2006

The Esquire article is over-written, and the documentary is quite focused on the identity of the man in the photograph. (Saw it on CBC Newsworld last night). But.

I appreciated learning about the context of that image. It seems different when in series with the other images that photographer shot. The pictures of him flailing, falling, grabbing at air, having his shirt ripped off instead of the swandive captured in the famous image.

It inspired me to go look for more of these pictures. I'm not sure why, or what I got out of it.
But I feel like I learned something.

May they rest in peace.
posted by raedyn at 2:11 PM on September 7, 2006

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