"Sometime Lofty Towers" is a hushed photographic elegy to the World Trade Center. Because every image of the Twin Towers must henceforth be instinct with the multitudinous memory of lives cut short there, this book restricts itself to architectural images of the Towers' proud presence and melancholy absence-and eschews as "de trop" the all-too-familiar images of the violence and anguish of that awful morning. The majority of the photographs in this book come from the luminous portfolio of Jake Rajs, master photographer of the New York City skyline and Hudson River. They track the progress of a composite day of yesteryear, as Rajs's camera wheels with the sun from ruddy morning to starry night about New York's quarter-mile-high icons.
Of the forty-six full-color images of Lower Manhattan in "Sometime Lofty Towers", only one in every five depicts the aftermath of the World Trade Center's destruction. The post-destruction images silently point at the Towers "in absentia"; each such image being juxtaposed with an image of the Towers in their pride taken from a similar viewpoint and in similar light.
The book opens with a dedication to "the heroic rescuers who died striving in the name of mercy"; followed by the full text of the impassioned remarks of Governor Pataki to the joint session of the New York State Legislature on September 13th. A sensitive yet informative introductory essay by scientist Robert Hutchinson compares and contrasts the moral and physical dimensions of the events of September 11th; recounts the history of the construction of the World Trade Center and describes its ultimate physical dimensions; describes the flight paths and physical dimensions of the airliners that struck the Towers; and explains the physics of the catastrophic collapses.
The title of the book is a phrase immortalized in Shakespeare's Sonnet 64: "When sometime lofty towers I see down razed, / And brass eternal slave to mortal rage /...This thought is as a death, which cannot choose / But weep to have that which it fears to lose." In like fashion, "Sometime Lofty Towers" seeks to ease the pain of ruin with the balm of remembered beauty.
The Widows' and Children's Fund of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York will receive one dollar from every copy of this book sold.
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"A graceful, grateful work in an oversized format...visual splendor...you will not be able to put this book down." -- The Book Reader, Spring/Summer 2002
Beautiful and haunting photos are used as a memorial to the Towers. -- Book Magazine, July/August, 2002
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