Around – NEW YORK, 2001-2002 / Olivier Culmann

Like millions of other people, the first pictures I saw of the attacks on 9/11 struck me as totally unreal.
On the television screen, the catastrophe seemed confined to the realm of cinema, where fiction lives up to the unimaginable.
I concluded that going there would be the only way of fully realizing what had happened.
At first, there was still something left: smoke billowing from fragments of remaining wall. And then, very soon, there was nothing left to see. But people would come anyway and stare at nothingness as if they needed to see proof of the total destruction with their very own eyes.

When taking photographs of the people walking past the ruins of the World Trade Center a few days after the attacks and then several months afterwards, I found that the expressions on their faces became strikingly revealing. Their looks were filled with doubts as to the reality of the destruction and these attempts to come to terms with the unthinkable echoed my own apprehensive efforts.
In the wake of this brutal event, what was left to explore behind the scenes of the catastrophe, were the repercussions and effects of the daily news on the living. I voluntarily turned my back on the devastated site so as to observe the people who came to take a close look. Some were terror-stricken and speechless, whilst others, spectators for only a few seconds, would pass by stealthily: ultimately, what was written on the faces of the American people were fathomless interrogations which arose with the destruction.

SCAM Roger Pic Prize, 2003


The exhibitions Watching TV and Around – New York could be showed together
This exhibition consists of 23 prints framed under glass (60 x 60 cm)