9/11 and the Falling Man
In the end, Cheney’s search turns up nothing but maybe. Maybe the Falling Man is Briley, but maybe it’s someone else. After all, how many orange t-shirts and black high-tops are there in New York? Falling Man proves unidentifiable. Despite photography’s apparent capacity to resolve identity – it is an Associated Press documentary photograph after all, ostensibly the most objective, most reliable form of evidence we have today – traces are all that remain. All the technology of enlargement and heightened resolution cannot bring us a proper name. We are left with nothing but the ephemera of an orange shirt, black high-tops, a white jacket, and dark skin.
- Excerpted from Seeing Ghosts: 9/11 and the Visual Imagination by Karen Engle