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CUMINS PHOTOGRAPH OF SEPTEMBER 11 WINS NPPA FIRST PLACE AWARD 8/17



March 20, 2002  

NATIONAL PRESS PHOTOGRAPHERS  2001 COMPETITION

 

Attack on America (News Photo)

First place: Robert A. Cumins / BlackStar Publishing

September 11, 2001: Imminent Doom


Attack on America (News Photo) Description:
A single image documented on Sept. 11. A single image that captures the harsh reality and magnitude of the terrorist attacks in the
United States and /or military response. (Newspaper and Magazine)


First Place: Robert A. Cumins, Freelance
Second Place: Aristide Economopolous, The Star-Ledger
Third Place: Xavier J. Araujo, El Nuevo Dia
Honorable Mention: Suzanne Plunkett, Associated Press
Honorable Mention: John Labriola, Associated Press
Honorable Mention: Amy Davis, The Baltimore Sun

Winner's comments:

When reached on the telephone, Cumins' response was, "I just can’t believe this.   I am so overwhelmed," then he choked up.  Later he wrote, "I am honored this photograph was selected. I am also saddened this photograph ever had to be made. I believe it is an image of a moment in history the world must never forget!  Ever.  I had a 90 second window of opportunity to make this photograph.... from the time I returned to my home (in Verona, New Jersey) after hearing of something going on at the World Trade Center....to the time I lifted my camera and made the picture.  As I was preparing my camera I saw a plane flying from the south and assumed it was a plane that had just taken off from Newark Airport. I thought of the incredible view the passengers must have of what was happening at the Trade Center, never realizing it was heading toward the South Tower. I made three quick images, the third being the fireball . I thought the fireball was an exploding gas line within the building. The plane itself actually left my mind's consciousness as I was shooting. I made a few additional pictures after the fireball....went inside and turned on the television. People were screaming that a second plane had hit the tower! Then I thought of the fireball I had seen, and that it must have been the plane they were talking about. But the plane I saw was still no longer in my mindset. It was not until I was at the (photo processing) lab, about to scan the film to CD did I realize the first two images were of the plane approaching and entering the South Tower and then the fireball....that I had followed that plane right into the building! Ironically, the photograph was made with a Nikon 500 mm lens bought 8 years ago to the day, September 11, 1993....I would use it on September 13, 1993 to photograph the handshake between Rabin, Arafat and Clinton on the south lawn of the White House. The picture of the hijacked airliner, a second away from hell at 9:03 AM,  September 11, 2001, was made from the west of New York City, 18 miles away, while the sun was still in the Eastern sky, thus the silhouette and holocaust view. I never heard a scream. I never had to run for my life. I just watched and photographed history unfurl in silence. It haunts me still....and always will. I have not visited Ground Zero. For me, it began and ended from my terrace on September 11."      ( March 2002).

 Overall judges' comments: 

"What struck me about the picture was that it was so ominous, like Dante's Inferno kind of scary. It is one of the pictures that had a really immediate graphical impact on me and the subject is the biggest and most profound story we will ever cover, hopefully. Omnious is the word for me."---     Brian Storm (Judge, MSNBC)

 

 



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