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Friday, 11 September 2009

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Tears to my eyes. But no words. Thanks.

While I found the pictures in the slide show interesting, I also found myself disappointed after viewing them. We are told that "We found much more. We found artifacts which showed us parts of our father we’d never seen before."

I viewed the slide show thinking it would tell us interesting things about the Mr. Davidson's father's life, but the images here, for me at least, only hinted at what they found. It left me wanting to know more.

@Mark Ditter

Mark,

You wrote "It left me wanting to know more."

Yes, me too. And for me that is the tradgedy of a life cut short.

Thanks, Mike. I was just barely holding it together at work today. The death certificate made me lose it altogether. To think that there were thousands of these, all with the same details (or lack of details, as it were.) Not sure why this anniversary is affecting me more than previous years. Maybe it's the sky here in North Carolina this morning -- that same incredible, unbelievable blue sky.

I don't see the poignancy of this project. People die every minute of every day and most do so without so much as a whisper in the public arena.

Why is this guy different? Because he died during the 9/11 attacks. Is that enough? Would his life, and death, be any less relevant if he died during a fishing trip? Would we even then care? Why do we care, now?

Cynical rant complete.

Frankly this was mostly nonsense including the remarks and 'precious' intro by Bob G. More than anything it reminds me that there is no substitute for some talent. It's very sad that this man died in the way that he did along with all the others, especially when many of us have become deeply suspicious of the causes and events, but that does not make his collection of family snapshots in any way momentous.

I think the best photographs are those that leave more questions than answers. This is as much as we'll ever know about this man. It's already more than I know about the other victims of 9/11

"Your photography is a record of your living"

Paul Strand

and to all of the gear nuts out there --- when a persons life is viewed thru photos like this, does it really matter which camera was used?

Pretty remarkable. Not the piece itself, which was well done; I mean it's remarkable that there are people who say "Why is someone who died in the WTC different from someone who died on a fishing trip?" and others who imply that there are non-deranged people who are "deeply suspicious of the causes and events" of 9/11.

"Nonsense" indeed. How soon we forget. It is because of such attitudes that photography is so important.

"Why do we care, now?"

Chuck,
I'm not sure it's "we" who care...it's his son who cares, his son who is sifting and sorting the leavings of his father's life. Surely you can identify with that, even if you've never lost a loved one? That's what makes it poignant to me, I think.

Mike

P.S. I also confess I probably just get fascinated with photographic artifacts. They always trigger a deep sense of fascination and reverie with me. It would be the same for anyone.

"I don't see the poignancy of this project. People die every minute of every day and most do so without so much as a whisper in the public arena.

Why is this guy different? Because he died during the 9/11 attacks. Is that enough? Would his life, and death, be any less relevant if he died during a fishing trip? Would we even then care? Why do we care, now?

Cynical rant complete."

With respect Chuck, perhaps you'd feel differently if it was your own father. While such a project may not mean much to us, think what it means to his family.

Gosh, such lack of response by some folks.

The poignancy - for me - is not much related to 9/11. It is a poignant project because it is clearly part of the grief process for relatives/friends of a man who died - and yes, it would be equally as poignant - for me - if he had died on a fishing trip.

My father died last fall, and as the family put together a funeral poster of photos that spanned his entire 98 years on earth, I felt like I understood the power of photography for the first time ever.

One photo from the Artifacts project that was both poignant and related to 9/11 was the picture of the 'missing' poster. At the time of the attack, those 'missing' posters nearly tore my heart out, with the family members standing in line for hours to get a chance at 5 seconds on TV to describe their 'missing' persons. As though these people had merely wandered off and gotten lost or misplaced in the chaos and could be found if we only knew their height and weight and hair color and nicknames. We all knew what the outcome would be at the end of the day, and it was so terribly heart wrenching to watch these people wishing so hard for the possibility of a different ending.

There is nothing political about that; it is just natural human sympathy.

These pictures made me think again of my friend Steve who died nearly two years ago aged 54. He had no family. I had to, with help, go through his stuff and sort out his affairs.

The picture of Larry Davidson's address book, full of meaning only to him, made me think about the hours I spent looking through Steve's address book, trying to contact anyone who knew him.

A fitting tribute to Mr Davidson.

Look folks, I'm not saying that this project was not important to the son, but my ire was raised when special mention was made in the project about the dad dying in the 9/11 attacks. It seemed to me, and still does, that the author/artist was using that tragedy to further enhance the status of the project. It was mentioned in the first sentence for crying out loud, despite the fact it was essentially irrelevant.

Apologies if my cynicism causes ill feelings, but I dislike having the 9/11 tragedy used as a marketing tool.

My parents evacuated early from Katrina. They were traveling in good weather west of Jackson, Mississippi. A car crossed the median at a high rate of speed and hit them head-on. The two in the other car died at the scene. My mother barely survived. My father held on until 9/9/2005, and then passed away. It was cruely ironic accident that made no sense and is - to this day - very hard to accept or think about.

So when I read cynical response to something like this, all I can say in retort is, "I get it".

I can certainly identify with having to unravel a relatively strange father's life after his death. After mine died a decade or so ago I was also faced with such an investigation, during which I learned for the first time that he had been interred at the infamous Manzanar concentration camp during most of WWII. (This lead to further remarkable discoveries nearly screen-worthy.)

My father had been an avid amateur photographer in his youth and had quite a stash of personal prints that I had never seen. All b&w, mostly snaps, many slightly better than simple snaps. But they bear testimony to Paul Strand's assertion, quoted above.

Make prints, guys. Files on the Web aren't worth a damn.

Cw.,
That is truly tragic. I'm very sorry to hear of it, for you and your family.

My mother and stepfather were involved in a very serious crash a few years ago in Maine. I didn't know how serious until I saw pictures of the car. It was unrecognizable. It was a wonder and a mystery that they weren't killed.

Mike

In isolation (or out of context) there is nothing extraordinary about any of the images.

However, there is a context. The context of 9/11. Lawrence Davidson went to work on a beautiful September morning nine years ago, only to never come home. He was brutally and deliberately murdered along with thousands of other innocents by Islamic terrorists. The power of this presentation lies in the story, the emotional response. Lawrence Davidson is everyone who died on that day, who left loved ones behind, who disappeared without a trace, who were murdered for no other reason except that they represented America.

Marc Davidson's photo essay reminded me yet again of that morning in a very painful way. I hope that more people see it, and think about the human cost of 9/11, and wake up to what is going on in the world.

I had a very difficult relationship with my father and it ultimately was the reason why I migrated from the UK to Australia in 1988. Two years ago he was taken ill suddenly and passed away. I had had very little contact with him over the intervening 19 years and suddenly I had to return and put his affairs in order. I had in my mind an image of a man who once was, but when I was going through his things trying to make sense of his finances, informing his friends etc I discovered a very different side to him. The most telling things were his photographs, there were shots of relatives I never knew anything about, his war service, his interests, his businesses. It was like I'd been given the Reader's digest abridged version of his life and I realised how much I had missed.

I wonder sometimes what some people think a photograph should be. How anybody could complain about the quality of the photographs or the technical ability shown, is beyond me. Marc Davidson didn't take them, he is sharing them.

I sat across from my own father as he lay dying of cancer. There was little said, no peace was made. I had blamed him for my mothers suicide years before. I did not attend his funeral and I have a single photograph of him.

Marc is promoting his fathers life; not his work

You never know what you miss till they're gone.

Everyone has a life story, while not notable, might be cherished by their loved ones.

Dad passed away after a difficult battle with cancer several years back. I wish I talked to him more then.

Regret is eternal. And that is why I now am never cynical about someone's effort to preserve the memory of a loved one.

I liked the fact that the presentation was so ordinary. There is something sacred about the details of everyone's life. It is the small things that make us all special and the little things that seem to hurt so much when we lose someone close to us. My mother used to keep a log of my father's blood pressure readings. It seemed silly at the time, but after she died, it touched me so much that it made me cry whenever I thought of it. She was a woman who cared for her husband and family with so much love. That log has significance to me now, but I doubt it would mean much to anyone else.

The deaths on the day of 9/11 hurt so much, partly because these were just ordinary people, and this presentation was ordinary in a dignified way as well.

With regard to 9/11, I think of it as a tragedy on so many levels. I think of normal people like you and me living their lives, doing what they are supposed to do, loving their families and then being violently taken from us because of meaningless, irrational hatred. I think of all the fathers, brothers, sisters, and children both killed and left behind. I think of ordinary people going off to work and never coming home. It sickens me to this day.

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