Exhibition: Marco Grob Looks Beyond 9/11 With ‘Portraits of Resilience’

Erik Tanner for TIME
Erik Tanner for TIME
The four survivors of stairway A (from left) Richard Fern, Stanley Praimnath, Brian Clark and Ron DiFrancesco at TIME's Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience exhibition at Milk Gallery in New York City.

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience, a portfolio of more than 30 photographs by Marco Grob, are on display at New York’s Milk Gallery. The black-and-white images first appeared in the September 19 edition of TIME, a special commemorative issue for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The photos, some measuring 60 in.-by-120 in., appear alongside videos of Valerie Plame, Donald Rumsfeld, James Yee and other participants from TIME’s issue, as part of the multimedia exhibit.

The Swiss photographer, who is based in New York, spent nine weeks traveling across the country for the portfolio, including stops in Dallas, Texas– where he photographed George W. Bush alongside Bob Beckwith, the firefighter who stood beside the President on his first visit to Ground Zero following the attacks—and New York City, where he captured the only four people to have survived from above the impact zone in the South Tower. The project broke new ground for Grob, as each subject was not only photographed, but interviewed and filmed in the same session. “For 25 years I’ve gotten the shot quickly and walked away. It stopped right there,” he said. “This time we did the shot, and people stayed and cried.” After each interview, Grob and his assistants often ended up in tears as well. “We had a hard time containing ourselves. To cry during the interview would have been unprofessional,” says Grob. “But in the editing, it was hard to handle our emotions.”

Seeing the portraits printed in a large format, where the details intensify some of the subjects’ fragile state of mind, was overwhelming for the photographer. Though Grob has since turned to other work—next week, he heads to Cambodia to begin a new project that will be a companion piece to his earlier photographs of Afghanistani land mine removal workers with the United Nations Mine Action Service—the photographer can’t quite leave the 9/11 portraits behind. “There’s so much still in my head,” says Grob. “I’m still digesting the stories.”

Kira Pollack

From left: Photographer Marco Grob and TIME's Deputy photo editor, Paul Moakley during the installation at Milk Gallery.
Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience is on display from Sept. 22-Oct. 7 at the Milk Gallery, located at 450 West 15th St. in New York. The show’s opening reception will be Thursday September 22nd from 7-10 pm.

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