The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11
by David Friend
From Publishers Weekly—Friend, a former director of photography at Life and currently editor of creative development at Vanity Fair, writes: “For many of us, photos are the glue we use to hold in place the disjointed bits of fiction and fact that make up the stories of our lives.” In this important analysis of how images of 9/11 and the “war on terror” have altered our understanding of power, world politics, religion and identity, he successfully merges reportage and analysis as he interprets the images of falling towers, panic in Manhattan streets and prisoners at Abu Ghraib that have been burned into our brains. But Friend elevates the book to a higher level with his iridescent commentary on the broad political and philosophical implications of 9/11 photography. For example, he recognizes the need to identify victims of a disaster as well as the Orwellian impulses in potential federal programs to create national photo ID cards. And he takes on such complicated issues as self-censorship in the media and how the Bush administration quickly learned how to use images to kick-start and maintain the war on terror. Lucidly written and urgently argued, this essential book is a valuable addition to literature on contemporary media and current politics.