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February 4, 2009

Ground Zero 2009

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I find this image from Mario Tama particularly fitting given Obama’s crack down today on executives whose firms have been scoring bail-out dollars.

The photo was taken last week outside the NY Stock Exchange. The photo seems to capture what the Executive Branch is recognizing, which is the blasphemous contrast between what has been the bright and warm, thoroughly protected, gilded heart of American high finance as compared to the cold, empty and obstructed terrain outside.

(image: Mario Tama/Getty Images. January 28, 2009. New York)

About the Photographer

Mario Tama

Mario Tama has covered global events including September 11, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the funeral of Pope John Paul II and Hurricane Katrina - before, during and after the storm. His work on Baghdad’s orphans was exhibited at Visa Pour L’Image in France and his photographs from Hurricane Katrina were featured in National Geographic, Newsweek and newspapers worldwide. In 2008 he was nominated for an Emmy for his documentary work on Coney Island and won Cliff Edom's New America Award for his work in New Orleans. He has received numerous other honors from institutions including the White House News Photographers Association, UNICEF Photo of the Year, Pictures of the Year International, Care International Award for Humanitarian Reportage, China International Press Photo Contest, and Days Japan International Photojournalism Awards. He studied photography at Rochester Institute of Technology and freelanced in Washington, DC for the Washington Post and Agence France-Presse before joining Getty Images. Mario is based in New York City. See more of Mario's work for BagNews here.

  • Paul

    “Obama’s crack down today on executives whose firms have been scoring bail-out dollars”
    Where? They’re words at best until this is enforced. There’s no crackdown yet. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • http://www.fightingliberals.com the littlest gator

    Wow- that one is very powerful. The warmth and glow of the masters of the Uni. world vs. the cold hard streets. well captured. Thanks for pointing this one out.

  • http://www.victorfitzsimons.net Victor F

    Maybe I’m just seeing things, but the flags or banners hanging on the left with the columns extending down behind them remind me of axes about to assault the fortress walls.

  • Rima

    There’s a small irony in the picture: the four figures warmed by the doorway’s glow are not Masters of the Universe, but plebeians – perhaps a waiter, a couple of security guards, and a U.P.S. delivery man. Looking for crumbs from the master’s table – or maybe just stepping out for a cigarette break.

  • http://www.errolmorris.com/content/interview/stopsmiling0306.html yg

    the blues are so evocative. lovely.

  • Harold Pomeroy

    The sidewalk being blocked vs. the door being held open is another contrast worth noting. The fences and barriers surely are top protect the building, and people inside, from attackers. However, the feeling created by the fences in the picture comments on the economic division.
    Harold Pomeroy

  • JayDenver

    Thought experiment: Imagine the building is a jail and those at the door the jailers. Now how do you feel?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1229955602s9948 Karen H.

    I am so impressed with Tama’s eye and find that his name crops up frequently in the credits to the photographs that catch my attention.

  • http://www.wvablue.com/ Clem Guttata

    Rima — Your point is well taken.
    As a minor detail. If I’m placing the scene correctly–seeing as 11 Wall Street is the location of the NYSE–a red-jacket attired man at that doorway is far more likely to be a floor trader than a waiter. (The caterer would come in and out an alley door, if at all, at that building.)

  • Gasho

    The warm inviting glow of MONEY. Ah.. how intoxicating! You can almost understand how the Madoffs of the world get so greedy when they are surrounded by a golden shimmer like this! Too bad this picture is as close as the rest of us are going to come to experiencing that lifestyle – and there are 3 guards between us and the golden door, remember – even though it’s our pocket change that’s propping the place up at this point.
    Great shot.

  • http://www.errolmorris.com/content/interview/stopsmiling0306.html yg

    i remember reading warm colors catch your attention quicker but cool colors hold your attention longer.
    instead of an inside/outside dynamic, to me the shot suggests something almost metaphysical. the gold is glittery and catches your eye, but it is grounded and rooted. stagnant. but when your eye follows the path of the street to the horizon, the lines of the building lifts you up into the sky. did the shooter intend a spiritual statement?

  • cenoxo

    JayDenver said… Thought experiment: Imagine the building is a jail and those at the door the jailers. Now how do you feel?
    There are Pros and in particular, Cons. One big one.

  • cenoxo

    Too bad this picture is as close as the rest of us are going to come to experiencing that lifestyle…
    Well, not quite, thankfully.
    From inside his very well-feathered nest…

    …famous billionaire and philanthropist Scrooge McDuck has given us an old-fashioned history lesson on the evils of credit.

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