Yael (now my wife) was living in the West Village, two miles from the Twin Towers, when 9/11 happened. I was in Anchorage that day. The moment US airspace reopened, I made my way back to New York. Somehow, I was able get into the World Trade Center site and access locations off-limits to media. I photographed what I saw.

I then sent it off in a PowerPoint to a couple dozen friends. Little did I realize that file would ricochet across the world.

My experience at Ground Zero provided that. Over the ensuing months, I would receive thousands of emails from complete strangers and dozens of photo requests (all of which I honored). Some of those emails brought me to tears—a window into the heart and goodness of humanity.

The Powerpoint I shared

My email that accompanied it

Emails I received from complete strangers

Behind The Lens

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Bob Kaufman