ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A New Mexico photographer who was living in downtown Manhattan that tragic day twelve years ago on Sept. 11, 2001 captured chilling images now on display at the Albuquerque Photographers Gallery.
O'Connell says displaying the images has been a way for him to work through the tragedy of 9/11. He also hopes it's a way for audiences to do the same. He was living around the corner from the towers at the time. He also says he drew on his journalistic instinct to capture what he could.
"I realized that it was dangerous," says O'Connell. "I mean I had to look up at one time when I heard you know sh-boom, uh that's a body hitting."
O'Connell says he feels it's important to show others what he saw through his camera that day.
"I didn't recognize until much later when I was looking at the contact sheets like, oh my God, that's a piece of the fuselage," adds O'Connell.
The pictures say it all, capturing the shock and devastation immediately following the attacks. One picture shows human remains covering the streets around the towers.
O'Connell says he's not sure what audiences will take away from that image and the others, but collectively, it's something that will provide a different view of what happened.
Taking the pictures almost cost him his life. He was just a couple of blocks away when the first tower collapsed. He ran and found shelter in a nearby building, picking up his camera again when the debris started settling.
O'Connell has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder because of what he witnessed that day. He's also part of a group called the World Trade Center Monitoring Program which checks on the health of people who were near ground zero when the towers fell.
O'Connell's exhibit will be on display at the Albuquerque Photographers Gallery in Old Town through the end of the month.
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