Here is New York collection
Language of Materials
The Here is New York Collection spans the period from 1996 to 2007 (bulk 2001 to 2002) and primarily contains images of or related to the events of September 11, 2001 that were used in here is new york exhibitions. Images were submitted to the organization from more than 2,600 amateur and professional photographers and are in digital and printed formats. The collection also contains original photographs, oral history testimonies, home movies, and music relating to 9/11. In addition, there is material (mostly signage) from here is new york exhibitions and documentation of various shows. The Here is New York Collection contains 25 boxes of the organization's office files, including records of key departments, especially public relations and print production.
The here is new york photography project was founded in September 2001 as a response to the events of September 11 by writer Michael Shulan, photographer Gilles Peress, photographer Charles Traub, and photography curator and editor Alice Rose George. The founders planned to solicit photographs of September 11 from the public taken by both amateur and professional photographers, display the images, and sell prints for charitable purposes. Shulan's storefront property on Prince Street in Soho--empty at the time--would serve as gallery space. Traub was also chair of the Photography and Related Media Department MFA program at the School of Visual Arts and enlisted SVA students and faculty to assist with the project. The title from the project was inspired by the 1949 E.B. White essay "Here is New York:"
"The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headline of the latest edition."
The exhibition "here is new york: a democracy of photographs" opened on September 25 at 116 Prince Street. Submissions were accepted onsite during gallery hours; an effort was made to take at least one image from each photographer. Volunteers scanned each selected image (unless it was already in digital format), created corrected low (jpg) and high (tif) resolution digital versions, assigned image numbers, and returned the originals to the contributors. They then created prints (~11 x 17) using ink-jet printers, and displayed them in the gallery space-- the images were displayed without captions, anonymously, reflecting the project's subtitle, "a democracy of photographs." The prints were not framed; instead they were clipped to wires that were strung across the walls and ceiling. In early October, volunteers onsite began taking orders for prints, sold for $25 each, primarily to benefit the WTC Relief Fund of the Children's Aid Society. Donations were also made to firefighters' funds and the Soho Alliance during the course of the project.
Original plans called for a mid-October closing, but strong public interest prompted the project to continue. During October 2001, here is new york was reviewed in the New York Times and Village Voice, and received coverage on CNN, Newshour, Today Show, World News Tonight, and Dateline. The exhibition was extended twice, and expanded into an adjacent empty store space at 118 Prince Street mid-month. Here is new york was featured on Oprah in early November.
Here is new york continued to grow in the last months of 2001. In November, the organization was established as a nonprofit 501(c)(3). It received donations for equipment and infrastructure from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; in December, a benefit for here is new york was held at the Diane von Furstenberg studio, sponsored by The Week magazine. The Prince Street exhibit was extended to Christmas and two exhibitions of here is new york images were mounted in California. Former President Bill Clinton visited the Prince Street gallery on December 23. The gallery closed on Christmas Eve, but crowds continued to gather in front, and the exhibit reopened on January 2, 2002, with a reduced schedule. Here is new york also launched a website in December, opening an online gallery of its images at hereisnewyork.org, and eventually taking orders for prints via the internet.
The bulk of here is new york staff served as volunteers. In 2002, money from grants and proceeds allowed the organization to pay some staff members on a monthly basis. Staff was organized into a number of departments that handled image selection and intake, the production of prints, print sales, exhibitions, public relations, website maintenance, and other tasks.
In 2002, here is new york continued to expand with exhibitions throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Chicago, Washington, D.C., Houston, Berlin, Dresden, Dublin, and Tokyo (see list of exhibits below). From February to June, the International Center of Photography and the Durst Organization provided here is new york with a new exhibition space at 1105 Sixth Avenue in New York (this exhibit was subtitled "history unframed"). The Prince Street gallery also remained open. While here is new york continued to display and sell images of 9/11 and its immediate aftermath, it no longer solicited photographs from that time period. Rather, it sought images of the effects of 9/11 and related issues, including the war in Afghanistan, other sites of terrorism, and world events.
In April of 2002, here is new york launched its oral history initiative, Voices of 9.11. Begun initially as a way for photographers to tell stories of their images, the project quickly expanded to include 9/11 survivors, family members, first responders, area residents, and others. A makeshift video booth was erected at here is new york's 1105 Sixth Avenue exhibition. The speaker controlled the recording; there were no time limits or restrictions on subject matter. When the Sixth Avenue location closed in June, the video booth was relocated to the Prince Street gallery. Later locations included Washington, D.C. (at the Corcoran Gallery exhibit), Shanksville, PA (the crash site of United Flight 93), Staten Island, and the Pentagon in January 2003.
Here is new york received the ICP/Getty Cornell Capa Award for distinguished achievement in photography in May of 2002. In 2002, the organization also received the Brendan Gill Prize, given by the Municipal Art Society of New York for innovative artistic contributions to the city, and the Charles Loring Brace Award from the Children's Aid Society for philanthropic leadership in the wake of September 11.
To commemorate the first anniversary of September 11, here is new york mounted exhibitions in several cities in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Its book here is new york: a democracy of photographs, which included 821 selected images, was published by the Swiss publisher Scalo.
In the months following the first anniversary, here is new york began to wind down operations. The Prince Street gallery closed on September 29. By December, here is new york had mostly ceased operations; a few staff members continued to maintain the website and prepare material for donation into 2003.
Approximately $875,000 was donated overall to the Children's Aid Society. Here is new york formally dissolved as a non-profit in November 2007.
Secondary sources that discuss here is new york include Geoff Dyer's The Ongoing Moment, David Friend's Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11, and Susan Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others.
This list was compiled using the list of exhibitions in the here is new york book, a list of exhibitions in a here is new york press kit from 2002, a list in an exhibition review in the Journal of American History (Dec. 2002), HINY office files, and the websites of various museums and galleries.
The Here is New York Collection is arranged into seven series:
- Series I. here is new york Images
- Series II. Voices of 9.11
- Series III. Other Donated Material
- Series IV. Documentation of Exhibitions
- Series V. Office Files
- Series VI. WTC: The First Twenty-Four Hours
- Series VII. Added Material
Scope and Content Note
The Here is New York Collection spans the period from 1996 to 2007 (bulk 2001 to 2002) and primarily contains images of or related to the events of September 11, 2001 that were used in here is new york exhibitions. Images were submitted to the organization from more than 2,600 amateur and professional photographers and are in digital and printed formats. The bulk of the images are of New York City, especially of initial damage to the World Trade Center, the collapse of the towers, environmental damage and victims in lower Manhattan, Ground Zero, firefighters, police and rescue workers, missing persons fliers, memorials throughout the city, and the WTC before 9/11. There are also numerous images of the Pentagon and Washington, D.C. Also represented in the collection are the Towers of Light in 2002, memorial services, the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA, reactions to 9/11 in various cities, the war in Afghanistan, other sites of terrorism, and world events. The 6,254 digital images are available through a searchable database. There are 2,123 prints, primarily from the Prince Street and Corcoran Gallery exhibitions.
The collection also contains original photographs not returned to contributors, 580 oral history testimonies from here is new york's Voices of 9.11 project, and home movies, other images, and music relating to 9/11. In addition, there is material (mostly signage) from here is new york exhibitions, and documentation of various shows, especially those at Prince Street and the Chicago Cultural Center.
The Here is New York Collection contains 25 boxes of the organization's office files, including the records of key departments, particularly public relations and print production.
This collection contains a variety of formats, including digital images (bulk are tif and jpg), prints, photographs, movie files, office files, newspapers, clippings, artifacts, and ephemera. Much of the material is on CDs, DVDs, hard drives, zip disks, floppy disks, and VHS and Mini-DV tapes. Files on these items can be accessed at a dedicated computer terminal for this collection.
Open to qualified researchers.
Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. See guidelines in Print Room for details.
HINY digital image database and Voices of 9.11 testimonies are available on a computer terminal in the Library's Reading Room. See Reference staff for details. For access to all other HINY material, contact the Print Room.
Permission to reproduce any Print Room holdings must be obtained from:
Rights and Reproductions
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 270
Fax: (212) 579-8794
Note: Reproduction and use of here is new york images will require additional permission from photographer or copyright holder.
This collection should be cited as Here is New York Collection, PR 258, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.
Gift of here is new york, 2004. Material added 2006, 2007.