The story behind the pictures: I was born in New York and worked my entire life there. I relocated to Sarasota, Florida in 1990, but have always maintained a strong connection with the City. I have gone back each and every year on vacation, always one week before Labor Day until the following Monday. I became a professional photographer in 1992, specializing in architectural and historic building and site photography. Previously I never took my infrared film or equipment with me as I felt I was on vacation. In year 2000 I took infrared pictures of historical sites of Sarasota as I am significantly involved in Sarasota history.
This motivated me to want to take pictures of historical buildings and sites of Manhattan in 2001. I set Friday, September 7 aside. Some people might attribute this timing to luck, others to coincidence. Regardless, I consider myself a photojournalist, always out there looking and documenting what I see and what I am inspired by. On September 7, I intended my theme to be “The Past and the Present.” In truth I was there before history occurred … four days before to be exact. As an aside to my story, President Bush was giving a speech in Sarasota to grammar school students at the exact time of the World Trade Center terrorism on 9/11/01.
The resulting series of photographs is now entitled “Dawn Before Darkness — Spirits of the Past.” The series includes images of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with the World Trade Center majestically in the background. In many of the other images, the World Trade Center can be seen standing proudly against the sky. These were my first shots of the day. Together they mark a photographic odyssey I won’t ever forget.
I would share them with America now. — Arnold Berns
“Spirits of the Past,” is an exhibit of haunting black and white infrared photographs of the New York skyline featuring the World Trade Center. The images were taken on September 7, just four days before that fateful day during which the lives of all Americans were changed forever.
The B&W Infrared pictures will provoke images and thoughts of both hope and despair. These poignant black and white photos were taken before the terrorists flew planes into both towers, destroying lives and eradicating a vital symbol of American strength.
“On September 7, Arnold Berns shot a series of infrared photographs of the World Trade Center and other New York City landmarks. He and his wife, Colleen Cassidy-Berns, departed Newark Airport on September 10 – just before a fire broke out, forcing many passengers to fly out the following day – some on Flight 93. The New York photos are on display at Studio 41 Gallery in Sarasota (Florida).'”
— Lisa Codianne Fowler, correspondent – Style Magazine/Sarasota Herald-Tribune