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Never-before-seen photos of 9/11 horror released by University of Michigan professor

David Turnley lived two blocks from World Trade Center in 2001

Screenshot from David Turnley's newly released photographic documentary 20 years after the 9/11 attacks. (David Turnley)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – David Turnley was one of few photographers on the ground in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 when the Twin Towers fell.

Currently a professor at the University of Michigan Residential College and the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, Turnley spent decades covering wars, major events and uprisings around the world.

In a recent Instagram post, Turnley recalled the moment he heard the first plane hit.

“It was a gorgeous blue sky morning, and I was in the shower on West 10th Street in New York’s West Village when I heard what sounded like a train wreck. I moved to the city in the late ‘90s after 20 years of covering war all over the world. After getting dressed for an appointment, I walked out the door to see the first twin tower in flames. I grabbed my cameras—and 20 rolls of film—and by the time I returned to head down to the World Trade Center, another plane had just hit the second tower. ­­War had followed me.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer captured the scenes of horror many of us watched unfold on television and in the newspapers -- people covered in dust and debris, running from massive clouds as the towers collapsed, crying in the street and some looking up in shock and disbelief.

He also captured intimate moments with the many first responders that day, whom he followed into the rubble.

The photos have been in his personal archive until he released a new photographic documentary earlier this week set to “Lift Me Up” by Bruce Springsteen. He has also been sharing more photos on Instagram as part of a six-day series leading up to the anniversary of the attacks.

“I am posting this work to honor—20 years later—all those who lost their lives and those who risked their lives to help,” he wrote.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.