9/11 Museum Program Highlights Stories Behind FEMA Photographs

FEMA photographer Andrea Booher smiles onstage as she speaks with a woman out of focus in the foreground.
FEMA photographer Andrea Booher and Amy Weisser at the 9/11 Memorial Museum auditorium. Photo by Ben Hider.

Rescue and recovery workers, many returning to ground zero for the first time since the 9/11 recovery efforts ended, filled the 9/11 Memorial Museum auditorium Wednesday night for a public program highlighting a new exhibition. Photographer Andrea Booher was the featured guest for the program, and recounted stories behind her photographs in the exhibition “Hope at Ground Zero: FEMA Photographs by Andrea Booher.”

“There was a bond of shared experience that was very intense. It’s a family,” said Booher of the relationships she formed while at ground zero. She was diligent about keeping track of those she photographed, writing their names and contact information in a green notebook that she carried with her on the site.

Amy Weisser, 9/11 Memorial Senior Vice President of Exhibitions and co-curator of the show moderated the program. She asked Booher to recount stories behind some of the photographs featured in the exhibition.  Booher described each scene, often linking the story of a photograph to individuals who were in the audience.

When she got to a large scale landscape photo of the site taken the day the operation shifted from a rescue effort to a recovery, she became emotional.

“There was a shift of energy on that day. It was clear that we were not going to bring anyone out alive,” she said.  

“Hope at Ground Zero: FEMA Photographs by Andrea Booher” is now on view in the museum. Learn more about the exhibition and explore some of the photographs.  

Listen to Booher describe her photographs in the video below.


By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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