“For pure spectacle, it’s hard to top the imagery of the Space Shuttle gliding through the skies of San Francisco, Washington and New York, creating powerful juxtapositions with America’s most cherished and symbolic landscapes, monuments and landmarks. I imagine there’s an e-book’s-worth of symbolism here and I’m curious to hear what you read in these photos. For myself, however, I can’t look at the Shuttle seeming to thread its way in and among the New York cityscape without recalling those other scenes burned into my psyche and America’s brain, of airliners — angels of death — flying low through the town in remarkable proximity to homes and histories and essences of power and critical nerve centers, and finally, unimaginably….
Against that background, how soothing and cathartic these visuals are. Laid over eidetic memories of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, like cataracts now in the country’s inner eye, these gentle and curious photographs bind themselves to our best “where were you when!?” questions, and the symbolism of some of America’s most exciting and proud feelings, recollections and national moments (first man to orbit the earth, Friendship 7 splashdown, first man on the moon, our romance with JFK and his with space, and on and on).”
Do photos heal?
Michael Shaw: Space Shuttle in the Skies of Manhattan: The Healing