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© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Here is New York Collection
1996-2007 (bulk 2001-2002)
 PR 258

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Melissa Haley

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 13, 2011
Description is in English.

Historical Note

The here is new york photography project was founded in September 2001 as a response to the events of September 11 by writer Michael Shulan, photographer Gilles Peress, photographer Charles Traub, and photography curator and editor Alice Rose George. The founders planned to solicit photographs of September 11 from the public taken by both amateur and professional photographers, display the images, and sell prints for charitable purposes. Shulan's storefront property on Prince Street in Soho--empty at the time--would serve as gallery space. Traub was also chair of the Photography and Related Media Department MFA program at the School of Visual Arts and enlisted SVA students and faculty to assist with the project. The title from the project was inspired by the 1949 E.B. White essay "Here is New York:"

"The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headline of the latest edition."

The exhibition "here is new york: a democracy of photographs" opened on September 25 at 116 Prince Street. Submissions were accepted onsite during gallery hours; an effort was made to take at least one image from each photographer. Volunteers scanned each selected image (unless it was already in digital format), created corrected low (jpg) and high (tif) resolution digital versions, assigned image numbers, and returned the originals to the contributors. They then created prints (~11 x 17) using ink-jet printers, and displayed them in the gallery space-- the images were displayed without captions, anonymously, reflecting the project's subtitle, "a democracy of photographs." The prints were not framed; instead they were clipped to wires that were strung across the walls and ceiling. In early October, volunteers onsite began taking orders for prints, sold for $25 each, primarily to benefit the WTC Relief Fund of the Children's Aid Society. Donations were also made to firefighters' funds and the Soho Alliance during the course of the project.

Original plans called for a mid-October closing, but strong public interest prompted the project to continue. During October 2001, here is new york was reviewed in the New York Times and  Village Voice, and received coverage on  CNN,  Newshour,  Today Show,  World News Tonight, and  Dateline. The exhibition was extended twice, and expanded into an adjacent empty store space at 118 Prince Street mid-month. Here is new york was featured on  Oprah in early November.

Here is new york continued to grow in the last months of 2001. In November, the organization was established as a nonprofit 501(c)(3). It received donations for equipment and infrastructure from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; in December, a benefit for here is new york was held at the Diane von Furstenberg studio, sponsored by The Week magazine. The Prince Street exhibit was extended to Christmas and two exhibitions of here is new york images were mounted in California. Former President Bill Clinton visited the Prince Street gallery on December 23. The gallery closed on Christmas Eve, but crowds continued to gather in front, and the exhibit reopened on January 2, 2002, with a reduced schedule. Here is new york also launched a website in December, opening an online gallery of its images at  hereisnewyork.org, and eventually taking orders for prints via the internet.

The bulk of here is new york staff served as volunteers. In 2002, money from grants and proceeds allowed the organization to pay some staff members on a monthly basis. Staff was organized into a number of departments that handled image selection and intake, the production of prints, print sales, exhibitions, public relations, website maintenance, and other tasks.

In 2002, here is new york continued to expand with exhibitions throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Chicago, Washington, D.C., Houston, Berlin, Dresden, Dublin, and Tokyo (see list of exhibits below). From February to June, the International Center of Photography and the Durst Organization provided here is new york with a new exhibition space at 1105 Sixth Avenue in New York (this exhibit was subtitled "history unframed"). The Prince Street gallery also remained open. While here is new york continued to display and sell images of 9/11 and its immediate aftermath, it no longer solicited photographs from that time period. Rather, it sought images of the effects of 9/11 and related issues, including the war in Afghanistan, other sites of terrorism, and world events.

In April of 2002, here is new york launched its oral history initiative, Voices of 9.11. Begun initially as a way for photographers to tell stories of their images, the project quickly expanded to include 9/11 survivors, family members, first responders, area residents, and others. A makeshift video booth was erected at here is new york's 1105 Sixth Avenue exhibition. The speaker controlled the recording; there were no time limits or restrictions on subject matter. When the Sixth Avenue location closed in June, the video booth was relocated to the Prince Street gallery. Later locations included Washington, D.C. (at the Corcoran Gallery exhibit), Shanksville, PA (the crash site of United Flight 93), Staten Island, and the Pentagon in January 2003.

Here is new york received the ICP/Getty Cornell Capa Award for distinguished achievement in photography in May of 2002. In 2002, the organization also received the Brendan Gill Prize, given by the Municipal Art Society of New York for innovative artistic contributions to the city, and the Charles Loring Brace Award from the Children's Aid Society for philanthropic leadership in the wake of September 11.

To commemorate the first anniversary of September 11, here is new york mounted exhibitions in several cities in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Its book here is new york: a democracy of photographs, which included 821 selected images, was published by the Swiss publisher Scalo.

In the months following the first anniversary, here is new york began to wind down operations. The Prince Street gallery closed on September 29. By December, here is new york had mostly ceased operations; a few staff members continued to maintain the website and prepare material for donation into 2003.

Approximately $875,000 was donated overall to the Children's Aid Society. Here is new york formally dissolved as a non-profit in November 2007.

Secondary sources that discuss here is new york include Geoff Dyer's The Ongoing Moment, David Friend's  Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11, and Susan Sontag's  Regarding the Pain of Others.

Main Exhibitions:

2001
9/25/01-9/29/02 116-118 Prince St. [118 opened 10/12/01]
11/10-12/8 Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
11/18-12/21 School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley, CA
2002
2/1-3/30 Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
2/12-6/1 International Center of Photography, New York, NY 1105 Sixth Avenue "history unframed" Also included in 1/11 - 3/17, part of "aftermath: Photography in the Wake of September 11" ICP
2/22-5/19 Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL
2/28-5/21 "Life of the City" exhibition at Museum of Modern Art, NYC Partly inspired by HINY; included some HINY images.
April Projection of HINY images on Astrovision screen, Times Square, NYC
5/2-5/9 Uniformed Firefighters Assoc., Las Vegas, NV
7/5-10/7 Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
July Les Rencontres d'Arles, Arles, France
9/3-10/4 Rathaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
9/3-10/31 Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, KY
9/4-9/27 Marietta College, Marietta, OH
9/4-9/30 Fulton Street Gallery, Troy, NY
9/4-10/8 Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, NJ
9/5-10/6 Zurich Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland
9/5-11/2 Scalo Project Space, New York, NY [publisher HINY book]
9/6-10/6 Dresdner Druck und Verlagshaus-Sachsische Zeitung/Haus der Presse, Dresden, Germany
9/7-9/14 Fifth St. Towers, Minneapolis, MN
9/7-11/11 Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC
9/8-9/12 Images from HINY projected on Ellipse near White House, WDC
9/9-10/8 International Plaza, Tampa, FL
9/10-9/17 Mitsukoshi, Tokyo, Japan
9/10-9/25 Sausage Factory, Dublin, Ireland
9/10-10/30 Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL
9/10-11/10 232 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA
9/11-9/12 Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston, TX
9/11-9/20 85-87 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin, Paris, France
9/11-10/5 Newsroom, London, England
9/11-10/6 NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Dusseldorf, Germany
9/11-11/15 Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
9/14-10/13 Memorial City Mall, Houston, TX
2003
6/10-7/22 FotoFest, Russia- Togliatti, near Samara

This list was compiled using the list of exhibitions in the here is new york book, a list of exhibitions in a here is new york press kit from 2002, a list in an exhibition review in the Journal of American History (Dec. 2002), HINY office files, and the websites of various museums and galleries.