The Falling Man

I believe that the image of the falling man taken on September 11th was the most significant one linking to that event. I believe that the posture of the man connotes everything that happened on that day: an innocent human being forced to their death through a single act of violence.

The peaceful positioning of the character, dwarfed by the enormity of the north tower behind him exemplifies how little could have been done to salvage the lives of those trapped victims above the point of impact.

The image also represents the psychological debate that the hundreds of ‘jumpers’ must of faced on that day. Trapped nearly a hundred floors up in the air with blazes that are flirting with a thousand degrees blocking your only route to safety, the victims were faced with the inaugural decision of burning alive or plummeting thousands of feet to a comparatively quicker death. The fact that the man in the image chose to jump shows the desperation of the situation and his decision was mirrored by hundreds of others who “chose” the same fate.

The conclusion of the mystery mans identity was never drawn, I believe that
This helped the image keep its significance, as it made it universally relatable
to everybody in an equal manner, rather than it being personal to one family.
Had the identity of the man been discovered, the family and friends of that
man would of received a lot of publicity and attention from the world
media. I think that this would have been unfair on the family who would of
wanted nothing more than to get on with the grieving process and move on
with life.

I do not believe that the image should have been censored, I think that the
scale of the atrocity was so large that the world deserved to see every detail
of what happened, to avoid false impressions and opinions on the event.
Overall, I believe that image censorship is wrong altogether and that the
majority of the time the viewer has the option as to whether or not they view
the image or video footage of potentially offensive and taboo subjects.
However, I do believe that the identity of the people in the images should have
been withheld in order to prevent families from unnecessary attention.

Of all the images produced, I believe that this one in the most effective in portraying the emotions felt that day in America, and the world as a whole. Perhaps the images of the towers on impact have a more natural connotation of the events, as well as the images of the heroic emergency services, but the media coverage and public response that this image provoked captured the true feelings of the tragedy overall.

In conclusion, I believe that the image was rightly used and analysed by the world, and the fact that the search for the mans identity came to no concrete conclusion was a fair occurrence. After all, it was one of hundreds of images taken by a photographer who expected nothing more than for it to reach a local newspaper.

The Falling Man


York, United Kingdom

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 2

Artist's Description

A short piece analysing, and exploring the issues rasied in the TV documentary “The Falling Man” which looks at the iconic image of a man falling from the World Trade Centre after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Artwork Comments

  • L K Southward
  • ufosIsee
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