Almost 2,500 Unseen Images From 9/11 Have Been Discovered on a CD at a Yard Sale

Almost 2,500 Unseen Images From 9/11 Have Been Discovered on a CD at a Yard Sale

There are many defining images from the devastating events that occurred in New York on September 11, 2001. But now, almost 18 years later, thousands of previously unseen photos showing the extent of the ground zero clean-up operation have been discovered on CD-Rom discs at a house clearance sale.

Precisely 2,389 photos have been acquired by archivist Jason Scott, giving new visual insight into September and October 2001 as officials cleared the devastation that was left behind after the Twin Tower terror attacks. The archivists say they had no idea what exactly the CDs contained when they acquired them, and admitted it was a “miracle” that they were even able to recover as much as they did, given how long are the CDs had remained untouched.

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The photographer behind the images currently remains unknown. It has been speculated, given that a number of the images were taken above ground level, the photo-taker could have been a construction worker. Many who were part of the clean-up operation have reported serious illnesses over the years, with more than 400,000 people exposed to toxic contaminants.

The photos have now been released into the public domain via an album on Flickr. Dr Johnathan Burgess, a colleague of Jason’s says that “it’s a miracle the discs transferred so well, CD Roms of that age are pretty spotty”. As per the BBC’s report, a CD recover service was used in order to retrieve some of the images.

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The EXIF data reveals the images were shot using a Canon PowerShot G1 – a 3-megapixel compact camera released in October 2000. The quality of the night images in particular are quite impressive, given the circumstances.

The archives, by the unknown photographer, are available to view over at Flickr.

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dale clark's picture

wow. This was such a tragic event. I do like when "unseen" images are found of historical events. The new images presents another perspective of the devastation. The clean up crews were brave just as well. I'm sure the place was a Haz Mat nightmare.

Matthias Rabiller's picture

Thanks for posting these. Quite a few interesting ones in the set. In the same vein, there is Joel Meyerowitz's book "Aftermath" that is a beautiful documentation of all that clearing phase. In the introduction he explains the whole place was considered a crime scene, and photography was extremely restricted, so there are probably not that many such sets of images.