Saturday, December 09, 2006

Austin Tobin Plaza

My personal memories of the original World Trade Center's plaza are hazy to nonexistent. I remember seeing the towers from a distance many times, but up close, all I can remember is riding an escalator up from the PATH train to the shopping concourse, and then an even fuzzier recollection of actually staring up from the street level, if not the plaza itself -- or I could be wrong, maybe it was any number of other skyscrapers. Still, I love pictures that are spooky because of what your mind connects with them. Polis has one such photo, in black and white. It's not scary or anything, but there's something about the wind-blown papers, the relative emptiness and what we know would come that adds up to a mildly chilling snapshot. What's even weirder about this photo is that it doesn't seem like one most people would take -- the composition isn't stunning, there's not much of a focal point. To me, it becomes truly beautiful only in retrospect, in the way that so many hum-drum pictures of a lost time or civilization -- the microcosm that was the WTC, say -- become things worth viewing and admiring for their innocence or perhaps obliviousness.

1 comment:

Sophia Al-Marri said...

One thing that I find quite strange about the post-collapse -photographs of groud zero and the actual site is how the twisted metal and perforated bits of wall and window have a very strange monsterous beauty to them. From a purely visual reaction to the buildings, I think it's widely acknowledged they were absolute eyesores. Somehow, when they were destroyed they gained an artistic resonance that never was had while they were standing. That's what tragedy does to a person, place, thing or other noun. It's what makes widows beautiful and what makes me buy books about crime-scenes.
Good blog.
(a very un-french) Sophia