Firefighter in the rubble of Ground Zero, Eugene Richards


This photograph is called “Firefighters on the rubble of Ground Zero” taken by Eugene Richards who is a photographer in America. This is taken in Grand Zero after the 9.11 happened. The photographer captured the rubble of buildings that are attacked by airplanes and the firefighter sitting on the debris. The photographer seems to aim to put a spotlight on a man staring at an object, by zooming in with a telephoto lens and it compressing the background. Putting only one person amidst a chaos of debris and big cranes gives the viewer an impression of how vast the mess is also how small men are. Also achromatic colors and a strong contrast give off the feeling of sorrow and tragedy.


In terms of the elements from Steve McCurry video, this photograph has rule of thirds, diagonals and figure to ground. The rule of thirds is presented on the rubble on the front and a dump track on the top. They are positioned along the lines and the firefighter is positioned on the center of the photograph create nice and neat composition even though the photograph has a messy feeling. Also there is a diagonal line on the rubble on the front that gives off the chaotic feeling. I believe it also helps to stand out the figures which are the man and the rubble on the front since the background is in a different direction. Finally, figure to ground is presented in the photograph. There is a contrast between subject and the background. The rubble on the front and the firefighter are figure and they are darker than the background. It makes the photograph vivid and gives off a strong feeling which I believe a great effect in terms of the fact of this event. From all elements the photographer put into this photograph, I can see his intention and the story he wants to tell the viewers through it.

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One Response to Firefighter in the rubble of Ground Zero, Eugene Richards

  1. rmichals says:

    Richards certainly uses strong diagonals to organize this composition. the firefighter in the picture stands out because of the contrast of light and dark between the figure and the ground. This firefighter is the most important thing in the photograph and he is dead center. We can’t really describe this as the rule of thirds as the main subject is right in the middle.

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