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Viewing Wim Wenders, Imperial War Museum

In November 2001, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker Wim Wenders travelled to New York to capture the aftermath of 9/11. Having grown up in the rubble and ruins of post-war West Germany, Wenders was particularly haunted by the attacks. ‘All of mankind was badly shaken,’ Wenders recently told The Guardian. ‘But I kept dreaming of being stuck in collapsing towers. I wanted to somehow exorcise these things.’

Wenders entered the site as the assistant of Joel Meyerowitz, the city’s only official photographer permitted to document work on ‘the pile’ at Ground Zero. He shot sparingly, however. ‘I feel places talk about us, they tell us about ourselves,’ he continued. ‘As a photographer, I become the listener.’

Five large-format photographs taken during his six-hour stint at Ground Zero are now on display at the Imperial War Museum in London as part of its 9/11: Twenty Years On programme. They are as captivating as they are terrifying. Cranes, diggers and firefighters loom large against a background of hellish chaos and destruction. With the Taliban’s recent retake of Afghanistan, these images are more chilling than ever.

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Dates
10 September 2021 — 09 January 2022
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