On this, the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I thought I would take today’s post and speak about a reason I am where I am with my career in photography. There have been many people that I have to thank for helping me in my career, but today’s post is on one that I can’t.
The fact is, I’ve never even met the man that I am writing about, probably couldn’t even point out a picture of him if I had to. However, to dismiss his importance to my career would be wrong.
The man I am speaking of is Bill Biggart.
Bill was a photo-journalist who was passionate about his work, loved to photograph conflicts, and movements both in the US and abroad. He was someone that created images that contain creativity and focus all while bullets flew over head. In truth, he was the photographer I wished I would turn into…
On September 11th, Bill was in New York City, cameras around neck photographing in the shadows of the smoking towers, creating images that defined chaos, yet contained strength. Not knowing that his time was limited, he photographed a frame of the remains of Tower Two, an image that no one else did nor could have done, and in the end, the image that cost him his life.
This is the image:
Ironically, it wasn’t the image from Bill’s camera that caught my eye, but the cover of American Photo featuring his gear, destroyed as it was, yet still identifiable. I remember seeing it and thinking of the human loss behind the camera, but at the same time thinking what incredible images that camera helped to capture before its destruction.
In all honesty, the idea behind what Bill did inspired me. I saw passion and courage behind his actions, and it was from that point I knew I would be a photographer. Upon seeing his crushed Canon D30, I decided that I too would buy that camera, after all it’s was what the heroes used.
With Thursday being the anniversary of that unfortunate day, I will take a moment to think and be grateful to all those out there like Bill who lived with passion and inspired people they will never know.
Thank you Bill.
Author’s Note: I would like to thank Wendy, Bill’s widow for her permission in using his images and support for this article. My heart and prayers go out to you and I am forever in debt to you.