The year was 1996 and I was enrolled in a B/W darkroom class at a local community college. Our subject assignment that week was street photography, so I decided to take a day off from work for a New York City adventure.
Destiny that day led me to a decision to park in New Jersey and train it into the city. After climbing the steps out of the subway, I was soon immersed in something I hadn’t expected. Before my eyes were many police cars, fire engines and ambulances. I thought I was witnessing an active crime scene. Policemen were everywhere and people were moving around at a very fast pace.
I walked into the scene as fast as I could, and of course out came my camera ready to capture the action. I soon learned my first impression was wrong. I had not walked into a crime scene. I had walked into the filming of “NYPD Blue”, one of the most popular television shows that year.
I took many shots that day but this image continues to resonate with me, and haunts me at the same time. The person on the left is not an actor. He is a real-life fireman. The person on the right is the actress Kim Delaney, who had begun her role on NYPD Blue the year before, and who went on to win an Emmy for her role in the series.
This image resonates with me because I see a very young man with his eyes sparkling, with a beautiful actresses’ hand on his shoulder, and with a glow of happiness written all over his face.
The image haunts me. Five years in the future would be 9/11, and if this young man was still with the fire department, based on where we were that day, he surely would have been sent to the towers. I’m haunted in wanting to know if he was involved with 9/11. I wonder if he lost his life that day. In a strange way taking this picture gives me a connection to a story stopped in time, but forever living on!