'the Falling Man' by Richard Drew

- The image is a contentious ‘flashpoint’ moment in history and one of a controversial series taken straight after the 9/11 terrorist attack on thee Twin Towers. The title is literal and stark like the image. The word falling has connotations which arouse a different response to jumping and suicide.
- The image is of disturbing subject matter and it raises many social and cultural questions about terrorism, suicide and personal choice in death. The photo is almost a public invasion into a private moment of death and choice about how one can still control how one dies even in a terrorist attack.
- Editing has created a particular frame with the image of the man at the centre. The horrific context of the photo is cut out and this challenges the view to imagine it. The shot appears perfectly arranged and suggests a much larger building but not the destruction, with the focus on the subject- the man.
- The man’s body appears relaxed and the posture quite straight with one leg bent gracefully.   The man’s posture paradoxically suggests peacefulness about his falling and impending death. He is in perfect alignment with the vertical lines of the building and the composition is visually balanced and appealing in its construction; ironically this belies contexts and ideas.
- The light and reflections on the building allow a halo effect to be seen around the man reinforcing that to fall was a better choice about how to die rather than burning to death.
- The contrasts of the light and dark in the background can be read as symbolic. The darkness suggests the evil of the event and yet the lightness hints at the peaceful last moments before death. This also highlights the moral issues raised by the man’s choice to jump and not burn to death as well as the newspapers decision to public such a photo.