Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza, pauses at his son’s name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during the tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011, in New York.

(photo: Justin Lane/AFP/Getty Images)


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13Reflections

Reflections

Moving, but I wonder if he knew of, or authorized, or would want this photo to be published

Although I can't be sure, I'm confident that he does know that it was taken because of the level of detail in the caption that accompanied the image. Most photojournalists are sensitive to this and often will let the subject know when they are asking for information.

Why do people always tend to want to immediately  go with what is probably wrong about what we are seeing or experiencing: "Yeah - it's nice - but, DID YOU MAKE SURE...."  The chastising "school marms" (male or female) are always about. The corrections of spelling or syntax, or sentence structure - no,the photograph not his name would not have been published without his permission. And, if you did really want to know - why not ask the photographer instead of wagging your finger here? Why not just experience what you are seeing and leave it at that. It's not like the photographer is going to read this and say, "Oh - God - I FORGOT TO GET PERMISSION!!" It's a freaking AP/Getty Images picture. 

Great point to remember - I just caught myself about to do something similar! ;) We are so human! and yet we learn and we get better with practice.

So what if he wanted his grief captured on film?  He wants the world to know that his child died that day, and he wants the world to know that he still aches because of it.  Today is not a day for cynicism.

Message to Mr. Peraza from a mother in Ohio:  

Dear Mr. Peraza,  I am terribly sorry for your loss.  You are lifted in my prayers.  Mrs. Chaney

It's also a horrible intrusion upon an intensely private moment.  Shame on the person who took this picture.  Have we really become such a nation of voyeurs that we feel we have the right to exploit even the most intimate grief for our own needs for meaning?  It's time to re-examine the idea of the sacred.  I do not think posting this image was necessary or in concert with your mission.

Of course posting this image was "necessary" and "in concert" with the mission of BEING.  This type of "exploitation" as you call it allows us to share in like mind and spirit with those who have experienced great loss, and allows us the opportunity to express comfort to them rather than disdain, as you have done.  If this man did not want to be recognized publicly, he would not have provided his very detailed information (name, etc) to the press, and he would have stayed home to express his grief privately.

perhaps a private moment, but in a very public place where it's clear that many people would see him and many cameras were likely present.  do you think he expected everyone to turn away as he had his moment?  he also consented to have his information shared.  i don't see this as exploitative at all.  first, it is photojournalism, sharing the realities of this anniversary.  second, it is art- capturing a very human moment that we can all relate to in some way, and making us feel.  feeling and thinking being what i think are two very important aspects of onbeing's mission.

Grief is a living, vibrant thing, a wound that scabs but never heals. God bless this man and his son. Continued prayers for our common understanding that living in fear is not living in awareness.

Without the images of personal grief, particularly as the years move on beyond the horror of the event, we are more readily able to put our hands and say "no nearer than this may it come".  Remembrance dims and some measure of complacency takes hold . Images of personal grief, particularly the intense anguish that is the heartbreak and emptiness in the space where the loved one sat, jerk us back into memory.  My hope is that continuing to see images of grief as deep and sharp today as it was 10 years ago today will move us to find ways to move ourselves toward sufficient repugnance for violence and violent retribution that we sit down, bow our heads and say:  "God help us.  No more."

I had not realized, until seeing this image, how the pooled and falling water pulls the names inscribed away from the viewer and down; how behind the names, there is that perpetual roar and falling. His arm seems stretched to hold his son back from the edge. 

Tears stabbed my eyes as soon as I saw this photo of  grief and remembrance. it does not matter who took the picture or why sorrow was being exploited. .A father and son who have been separated and  the anguish and despair  that remains..And I grieve at this moment for all the people  in the world who have lost the ones they loved.

apples