NY1's First Look At Richard Agudelo's "My 9-11 Project"
A celebrity rock photographer who traveled around the world snapping rock and pop stars found himself taking very different photos on September 11, 2001. Now he's showing them for the first time and speaking out on behalf of other volunteers at the World Trade Center site. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report on August 12.
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Many news photographers were turned away from the World Trade Center site in the hours after the the towers fell, but Richard Agudelo was able to snap some powerful images.
Agudelo, a celebrity photographer who has photographed the likes of Janet Jackson and Prince, ran to the destruction from his apartment on Maiden Lane a few blocks away to volunteer, but like any good photographer he had a camera with him, and when he saw the devastation and heroism around him, he captured it.
"This is 20, 30 yards into the rubble and we're in there digging and when I stepped back and let them walk in front of me a little bit and I was very lucky that I framed it where there was a fireman on the left and a policeman on the right," explains Agudelo.
Agudelo is showing the photographs in a new gallery exhibit called "My 9-11 Project." It's at the Charles West gallery on Charles Street. There's also a book, and a steel-encased limited edition version -- a tribute to the towers -- plus a soundtrack with local musicians using the book as inspiration.
Musician Ari Hest was in the Bronx the day of the attacks. He wrote "Blackwater" for the families who lost a dad that day.
Musician Alicia Lemke was a high school student in Wisconsin at the time, but after working as the book's editor she wrote "Maiden Lane."
The entire project is a fundraiser for first responder charities including the FeelGood Foundation. Agudelo who volunteered for the first three days and did wear a respirator mask, feels deeply for his fellow Ground Zero workers who have suffered not just the health effects but the hurdles of getting medical treatment. He says he hopes to raise as much as half a million dollars through the project.
Ten years later, Richard says he would still like to reconnect with the people he met that day.
"I learned that the two guys were a tug boat captain and a first mate," says Agudelo.
He's also hoping a policeman and the volunteers he spent the day with can find their way to the gallery to share their memories.