Artist Statement

I grew up in New York and was there in September 2001 to attend my sister’s wedding. The terrorist attack prevented me from catching my Tuesday morning flight home to Detroit. I remember having an overwhelming feeling of fear, yet I decided to use my camera to document the story. The images communicate some of what I saw and experienced on one of the most painful days of my life.\

I remember as a child going to the World Trade Center with my grandmother, who worked in one of the towers. It’s also where I began serious pursuit of my dream to become a photographer. I met up with my mentor there in 1997 to work on my portfolio. The first image I took showed the Brooklyn Bridge with the Twin Towers prominent in the background.

I cried when I saw the ruins of the towers. I wanted to help somehow and spent several hours at Stuyvesant High School passing out water, coffee and blankets to exhausted firefighters and rescue workers.


Velvet S. McNeil
September 2021