Local photographer captures before/after images of ground zero

The Deutsch-Amerikanisches Zentrum (German-American Center) in downtown Stuttgart currently features a photo exhibition called “Twin Towers Photo Twins” by Tom Bloch. The free exhibition is open from now to Oct. 7, Tuesday through Thursday, from 2-6 p.m.

Bloch, a local Stuttgart photographer, traveled to New York City between 1988 and 2000 and took several photos of the World Trade Center and the surrounding area. In March 2002, six months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, he returned to New York to take more photos from the same angles, to visualize what was missing.

“Tom Bloch’s photos are a reinterpretation of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. These photos offer a new way of dealing with these traumatic events and our own remembrance,” said Michael Weissenborn, director of the DAZ.

All images visualize — in a symbolic and dramatic way — the effects the events of 9/11 had on New York City. In looking at the “photo twins,” viewers have the opportunity to reflect on the absence of the twin towers, formerly major landmarks in New York.

“I was in Spain when I heard about the terrorist attacks,” Bloch said. “I was driving back to Germany from a trade fair and somewhere between Madrid and Stuttgart, I had that thought and felt the urgent need to return to New York to take more photos.”

With the photo twins, Bloch developed a different way for visitors to reflect on Sept. 11, without using the shocking imagery that some other photos display.

“The exhibition is very moving. What true dedication to continuously go back to the exact same areas to take photos. Tom Bloch found the right angle and the right lighting to capture remembrance. No American will ever forget this tragedy — it’s still burning,” said James Palik, a photographer from California who visited the exhibit.

Bloch’s photo twins are also part of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum’s collection at ground zero in New York City.

“This feels right to me; the photos found their home now. The images are reflecting my personal way of dealing with 9/11 and they are for the people in New York,” Bloch said.

Bloch lives in Stuttgart and is a freelance journalist, photographer and author.

For more information, visit www.twintowersphototwins.com or www.daz.org.