Robert A. Cumins
For fifty years, photographer Robert A. Cumins has been documenting history, politics, landscapes and humanitarian needs around the world. His work has also taken him to Israel more than 250 times since 1973. The photographs he made in remote villages of Ethiopia were critical to the fund raising efforts of a major international philanthropy. And his work documenting the ongoing humanitarian efforts of several American doctors in the Dominican Republic and Haiti has been vital to their efforts. From his home in Verona, NJ, with a sprawling view of Manhattan, Cumins received numerous awards for the historically important and powerful (Cover of PEOPLE Magazine) photograph he made on September 11, 2001. His images have graced the covers and pages of TIME, NEWSWEEK, PEOPLE, PARIS MATCH and other recognized international magazines around the world. His 1986 TIME Magazine Cover photograph of financier Ivan Boesky is also in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. His photograph of Presidential candidate Gary Hart appeared on the cover of People Magazine's '25 Most Intriguing People of 1987.' The Robert A. Cumins Collection includes his 1980 images from The Snows of Jerusalem Series, The Treaties For Peace Series, Super Bowl III (©1969), Robert F. Kennedy (©1967) and other images made throughout his career.
Though known for the photograph he
took on September 11, 2001, Robert A. Cumins has worked as a well traveled photographer for 50 years. But it was this one image that
would define his career more than anything else. The moment he stepped out to his ninth-floor balcony, 15
miles west of New York City, he shot a burst of images of United Airlines Flight 175, the first image taken a fraction of a second
before the hijacked jetliner hit the south tower of the World Trade Center. That photograph landed on the cover
of People Magazine as a double-page spread --- making it People's all time best-selling issue.
The image is now part of the permanent '9/11 Gallery' exhibit
at the Newseum in Washington, DC. And, it continues to be on display at the
9/11 Tribute Center in lower Manhattan, as well as the NJ State Museum in Trenton. The photograph also won the National
Press Photographer's Association Picture of the Year in the Attack on America
In American Photo Magazine, where Cumins's
photo won best of the year, documentary photographer Steve McCurry wrote:
"The starkness of it really reduces the elements to their most basic and fundamental...Graphically, it also came together for the photographer. It's a
grainy image, but that doesn't matter because the subject is so powerful....The
moment's there, the composition is there, and the fact that it's a silhouette
reduces it to the essentials - skyline, smoke and the impending crash."
The American Society of Magazine Editors wrote; The airwaves were flooded with
video footage, but this still shot served as one of the eeriest images to come
out shortly after the attacks—and a reminder of the power and emotion that
comes with stopping time."