“The Tribute in Light was a temporary art installation of 88 searchlights placed next to the site of the World Trade Center from March 11 to April 14, 2002 to create two vertical columns of light in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 attacks.”
On March 11, 2002, the night that they illuminated the “Tribute in Light,” I took a ferry across the Hudson river to get some pictures of the lights over lower Manhattan. Attempting to reconcile the new skyline in my mind, I tried imagining where the Towers had been. But with all of the chaos and emotions of the previous six months, I found it hard to remember their place and scale in the skyline.
About a year earlier, I had been in the same place (a park on the riverside in Jersey City, NJ) taking daytime shots of the not-yet-disturbed NYC skyline for use in the wedding invitations that my fiancée Michelle and I were designing.
With no particular goal in mind, I opened both sets of images in Photoshop (image editing software), and found two taken from the exact same spot; one from before, and one after. I overlayed the two images (before and after) and lined up all of the buildings exactly. The Towers were now exactly where they had been. Kind of spooky in a way, but I had this idea now…
Keeping the newer night-time shot as the dominant image, I cut away everything in the older day-time shot until just the Towers remained. Since the older image was taken during the day, the two WTC buildings had a ghostly white feeling, being surrounded by all the darkness of the newer image. I faded the day-time layer back to about 18% transparency, added a bit of outer-glow, and tinted the Towers slightly purple to match the tint of the lights coming from below in the newer image. (These “lights below” were actually emanating from the still-very-active collapse site.)
The result is what you see in the above image. Personally, I felt it had a sense of serenity to it. After all of the destruction and devastation images we had been seeing over and over again, this had a certain calmness to it.