Some time ago I decided I was pretty much done talking about September 11 2001. This is not because I don’t feel it’s not an important moment in the history of the United States, the World and my life … but because on September 11th 2001 I was in New York City working as a news photographer. Like others at Ground Zero that day profoundly changed my life and my choice is not to look back at what happened, but to look forward.
A few days after the attacks I began a series of assignments that would shape the majority of my work as a photojournalist for the following three-and-a-half years, with a focus that has continued in my work and has shaped much of the content on Flying With Fish.
When the commercial flight ban in the United States was lifted I began flying again and rather than return to Ground Zero turned my focus to ‘homeland security’ … primarily transportation security … both in the United States and abroad. My work, while heavily focused on commercial aviation security, also included maritime and railroad security … as well as documenting the creation and implementation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the merging of Customs and Immigrations into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
On the first day the TSA procedures were implemented, I was there, as the private security contractors left the airports and the TSA came into existence, I was there … and as the TSA continues to control airport security in the United States and influence commercial aviation security around the world … I am still there.
I have had the good and bad fortune to be in the middle of global security changes over the past nine years and been privileged to document big changes and subtle changes we experience every day.
Below are some images I have created on various photo assignments during my years of covering homeland security, and one photo from the even that set these changes in motion.
An NYPD Emergency Service vehicle races up the rubble covered street as 7 World Trade Center begins to collapse on September 11 2001, in Manhattan.
National Guard Airport Security Detail, Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, Connecticut
Metro Police, Arlington, Virginia
Connecticut Air National Guard Security Patrols, Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, Connecticut
Department of Homeland Security Customs Bureau, Port of Newark, New Jersey
A Metro Washington Airport Authority Police K9 team inspects an unclaimed piece baggage at Reagan Nation Airport after a threat was called in, Washington, DC
A US Customs Agent inspect the baggage of an Iranian business traveller, after his arrival at JFK International Airport from an Air India flight from London’s Heathrow Airport, in Queens, New York.
US Coast Guard Harbour Security, Boston Harbour-Logan International Airport, Boston
A Utah National Guard soldier checks for explosives under a tour bus at a vehicle security check point, Salt Lake City, Utah
A Department of Homeland Security Customs Bureau K9 team sniffs out a carry on bag carrying a large amount of marijuana, after passengers were removed from an American Airlines flight, when the crew noted a passenger was acting in an unusual manner during the boarding process, at O’Hare International Airport, Chicago.
US Coast Guard Passenger Boat Security, Hingham, Massachusetts
US Coast Guard Air Security Patrols Boston Harbor & Boston Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts
Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Emergency Services police officers deploy down a staircase to a Long Island Rail Road platform, at Penn Station, after the station was evacuated due to a ‘credible threat’ of an unknown man being spotted along the tracks, Penn Station, New York City
A U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Boarding Team patrols the Khawr Abd Allah Waterway, near the Port of Umm-Qasr, in Iraq.