The Photo

World Trade Center Panoramic Poster Project
A view from the top of the World Trade Center
Everen T. Brown – Photographer
January 1st, 2001

“Like many days at the end of October of 2001, I had been volunteering at “the pit” delivering supplies (to supply caches from our WTC Ground Zero Relief Spring Street warehouse), and by the nightfall I was starving. On most nights we went to Nino’s on Canal Street, a short walk from the warehouse, where police, firefighters, FEMA, volunteers and anyone with ID from Ground Zero could eat for free. Nino’s was covered with “thank you’ artwork from children all over the world, posters, hundreds of “we love you” letters, and no matter the time of day or night, Nino’s was always crowded with hungry people. There was a 24 hour barbeque set up across the street, and food was always smoking on the grill. The cooks drove up from Texas and BBQ’ed in shifts.

While at Nino’s I ran into another volunteer named Kevin McCrary, who was there with photographer Everen T. Brown. Everen had just arrived from Colorado with thousands of his WTC panoramic posters to distribute for free at Ground Zero, and he was at Nino’s to sign copies of the poster. I waited patiently in line until I got to the table, told him my name was Val, and he signed a poster for me. Kevin told me they had been handing out all the posters at the site. I got something to eat, watched the room as Everen continued to sign posters until they were all given out. Then he and Kevin left. I finished eating and went outside, only to see Kevin and Everen standing outside talking with some firefighters. I was curious to ask Everen how he managed to get so many posters printed, as I had been burning CD’s of a song I had written and was giving them away to people, but I was running out of money! And, as I could only burn one CD at a time, it was rather time consuming.

Everen told me that he had found someone willing to donate the printing of the posters, so that all the proceeds could be given to charity. In this simple exchange of information he planted the seed of the idea for what would eventually become the compilation CD “We’ll Carry On”. I gave him a copy of the words to my song and, as I had run out of CDs, asked for his card. I told him at some point I would like to send him the CD.

We said goodbye, and I went back to the Spring Street warehouse for a few more hours. Later that night, I unrolled the poster and stared at it, lost in the blue of the sky, in the immensity of the city, and the depths of our loss. I wondered where on earth I would be able to find a frame for such an unusually sized poster.

A few weeks later I ran into Kevin again at the Spring Street warehouse, he had been going around the site with Everen, and he had started collecting signatures of uniformed personnel around the perimeter of the poster: FDNY, PAPD, NYPD. Some fire fighters and police came into the warehouse for supplies and Kevin unrolled a copy of the signed poster and asked them to sign it. In this way, signature-by-signature, he collected hundreds of names of people working at Ground Zero. There are actually three of these posters: the one on the cover of “We’ll Carry On” is signed by FDNY, PAPD and NYPD; another one is signed by FDNY personnel only; and the third, pictured here, was signed by FDNY, PAPD, NYPD as well as members of the National Guard and Air Force.

In the middle of December 2001, I was talking on the phone with Adam Cott of In Record Time. He had offered to press up 1,000 copies of a CD for me, for free. Everen was right! There were people out there who could and would help! Adam and I were talking about what to put on the cover. I started to describe the signed poster to him and Adam exclaimed, “That sounds like a perfect CD cover”. I agreed, hopefully thinking, and began the process of talking with Everen to obtain his permission to use the image as the cover. He said, as long as all 100% of the proceeds are going to charity, it was fine with him. A few weeks later, Kevin gave me a CD with the scanned image of the signed poster, and I began to do the layout. As I was working with the file the idea struck me to use a close up of the signatures on the disk. I wanted the letters of “We’ll Carry On” to be an afterthought, they are not on the poster, so I sampled the colour of the blue sky for the letters, and made them a bit translucent. That ended up being the cover of the CD.

A few phone calls later to find a printer and a suggestion from Marc Blatte (“Hole In The Sky”, track 2 on the CD) and I spoke with Rob Malkin of C+M Press in Denver, Colorado. Rob immediately offered to press up 1,000 copies of the CD covers and tray cards for free. All I had to do was complete the layout, gather the information from all the artists, find a mastering studio—which ended up being Battery Studios, NYC, who also donated their services—and we were ready for production. I finished the artwork in the end of April, sent it to Denver, sent the mastered CD to Adam, and on May 17, 2002, the CDs arrived at West Street Records.

–Valerie Ghent, May 17, 2002