PDN Photo of the Day

Compressing the Past and the Future at the World Trade Center

From 2011 to 2013, Shai Kremer was granted access to photograph the construction of One World Trade Center, as it grew into the spot on the Lower Manhattan skyline once occupied by the Twin Towers. The series he made from the images, “Concrete Abstract,” is on view at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa until September 20, where the prints are shown for the first time at their full size, 60 x 80 inches. The images combine Kremer’s photographs of the controlled chaos of the construction site—expanses of raw cement, cranes, scaffolding, and a growing network of iron—with images of the destruction of September 11, taken from the public record. The results are dense, turbulent pictures that attempt to combine the past, present and future of the site. Kremer tells PDN by email, “I was very pleased for this late opportunity to finally unveil the work the way I envisioned it while constructing the images in my studio. Each image contains so much information, that in smaller sizes, the abstract can take over and viewers could miss all the details that tell the many stories.”

For Kremer, an Israeli based in New York whose earlier work has examined the way history and politics mark the landscape in his home country, the series was a way to explore American identity. As he writes in a statement about the series, “The accumulation of layers and viewpoints in the images themselves parallels the metropolis in general, New York and America in particular: accumulation—destruction—reconstitution, the paradigm of modernity.”

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