10 Controversial Pictures

#8. Thomas Hoepker’s 9/11 Photo

Thomas Hoepker is a German born photographer and member of Magnum Photos. On September 11, 2001, Hoepker was in New York when the World Trade Center was attacked. Hoepker captured hundreds of photos of the destruction, but one stands out. The photograph shows a collection of Americans relaxing and enjoying a conversation while the Twin Towers burn in the background. Hoepker did not publish the image for five years because he was concerned with the message. In 2006, the picture caused controversy in the American media. The New York Times published an article claiming the picture showed America’s failure to learn from the tragic day, or to change and reform as a nation.“The young people in Mr. Hoepker’s photo aren’t necessarily callous (insensitive). They’re just American.” This is a country that likes to move on, and fast. The people in the picture have responded to the media by saying that they were in “a profound state of shock and disbelief.” They have ridiculed Hoepker saying that he took the picture without permission and in a way that misrepresented their feelings. Whatever the case, the photo is established as one of the defining images of 9/11 and remains controversial in the eyes of many people.

Thomas Hoepker’s 9 11 Photo