“ Homage, “ is a photographic project that unites the concepts of citizen surveillance and the meaning of the omnipresent camera in lower Manhattan at the precise spots that the two planes on 9/11 2001 hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center. I, as a photographer have documented the citizens who specifically take their time to stop and photograph 1 Wall Street, or The Freedom Tower. The idea’s of surveillance and the freedom of the individual are in our culture inextricably linked. Documented with my camera are individuals who consciously or unconsciously perform the act of citizen surveillance. I am watching 21st century citizens who use any kind of camera to record and survey the Freedom Tower, as we, at times watch each other and as we are watched by the NYPD. Depicted are idiosyncratic individuals standing mostly against the Federal Building’s south wall facing Ground Zero. Most individuals take a similar picture as in Don De Lillo’s novel White Noise where he describes the idea of “ The Most Photographed Barn in America, “ becoming a simulacrum. The Freedom Tower is the barn and I feel no need or compulsion to include it in any image. Instead, I concentrate on this idea of citizen surveillance and the idea that we are now “ after photography.” It seems that most of the people taking pictures do not know that we are now after photography, they seem to think that the point at which they stop and shoot is somehow original. I do not look down on them for this. They underline the concept, and the fact, that almost everyone is a photographer now and it would be naïve to view the medium as if billions of images were not available on the web.
With the advent of digital cameras, cell phones, I Pads, Google Glass, and other technologies that enable the user to record like visual journalists, photography and the citizen have never been in such a prolific position of surveillance. Yahoo has claimed that as many as 800 billion photo’s will be taken in 2014. For professional photojournalists, and other documentarians the old ways of disseminating work has gone and in it’s place is a visual landscape that is evolving by the second. Our culture now is “ after photography,” a phrase in the photographic landscape that was coined by Fred Ritchin in his book, “ After Photography. “ We no longer look at photographs as we once did. Documentary photographers need new strategy’s. Of vital importance is the originality of ones concept, it’s execution, audio and video literacy, that can work with the image within an interactive dynamic multi media. Also, knowledge of contemporary dissemination that can potentially reach billions. There is a new zeitgeist for photography and with it surveillance and it is asking our society a plethora of questions. Who watches the government ? Who receives and watches our taxes, credit card info, social security numbers, Wikipedia, internet shopping history, social media activity, journalistic ethics, computer and phone hacking. Who’s watching Putin, Dick Cheney, Fox News or the Taliban ? Who’s watching you watching me?