Photos: the aftermath of the 9/11 attack

In an interview, photojournalist Mark Boster discussed how he approached his 9/11 images and what he did to make the photos more intimate. These are edited for clarity and length.

The jarring sound of an early morning phone call woke me with a jolt. I thought it was a death of a close friend. It was actually a photo editor. The message was just as frightening and included my marching orders. “Wake up, switch on your TV, planes are hitting buildings in New York!” We want you to drive immediately to San Francisco, they might try to crash a plane into the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Shifting into high gear, I found an ATM cash machine and withdrew the maximum amount. I found another ATM and withdrew even more money before heading north.

A group of people join hands, including a kneeling woman

Hallie McConlogue clasps hands with others at a peace rally in San Francisco hours after the 9/11 attacks across the country.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

I stood at the spot where the bridge was visible for many hours. I was able to see the bridge for several hours, but no planes were visible.

Since all domestic planes were grounded, fellow Times staff photographer Robert Durrell suggested I drive across the country to record the emotions of Americans after 9/11. I shared the idea with the photo editors who granted me permission to continue. After an emotional prayer and candlelight Vigil in San Francisco, Sept. 9, my journey began. 11. My story wasn’t about racing to New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington to see the crash sites. It was more about witnessing and telling the story of faith, resilience, and patriotism that the American people experienced after the horrific event.

Rescue works examine the remains of a building

Workers search for survivors amid the ruins of the World Trade Center on Sept. 14, 2001.

(Gary Friedman/ Los Angeles Times )

What I discovered on this trip was that the American people have not lost faith. They were strong, they were determined, and they tried their best to deal with the inexplicable tragedy. While witnessing many flag ceremonies, church services and high school football games across the heartland, I felt warmth and strength.

It was not an easy task to capture this story. It was difficult but heartfelt to tell the stories that came along the way. I wanted to tell the story of faith, strength and patriotism that triumphed over the extreme sadness of 9/11.

In the end, I found strength and faith thanks to the kindness of hundreds of people who shared their stories with me.

The remains of a building stands amid the rubble

Part of the World Trade Center’s south tower stands among ruins on Sept. 17, 2001.

(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

A young girl stands next to her grandmother in church

Destiny Parker hugs her grandmother, Laura McGraw, during a church service on Sept. 23, 2001, at the Quinn Chapel AME Church in Lexington, Ky.

(Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times)

A picture of a man is held among a crowd

A picture of Timothy Hargrave, who died at the World Trade Center, is held by a relative during a third anniversary ceremony held at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2004.

(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

A worker labors amid rubble

A worker labors among the ruins of the World Trade Center’s north tower on Sept. 21, 2001.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

A pair of hands hold a lit candle

A candlelight vigil is held at Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco on Sept. 11, 2001.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A man in a protective mask stands next to a group of onlookers

Matt Hand, left, and others view the World Trade Center site on Sept. 28, 2001.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A policeman wearing a gas mask is silhouetted against the remains of a building

A New York City police officer wearing a gas mask guards the World Trade Center site on Sept. 28, 2001.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A mother and child stand at the top of stairs

A mother and her child are seen standing at the top the stairs looking out over the World Trade Center site. This is their first home since the tragedy.

(Wally Skalij/ Los Angeles Times )

A man holds a small U.S. flag and bows his head

Carter Blumeyer, along with other members of a Missouri search-and-rescue team, attends a ceremony after returning from eight days at the World Trade Center site.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Candles flicker near a fence beside a river

Candles adorn a memorial at dusk on the Brooklyn promenade on Sept. 16, 2001, as smoke still rises from Manhattan.

(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

A boy wears a firefighter's helmet with a photo attached

Skylar Mercado is wearing a firefighter helmet with a photograph of his father, Steve Mercado who died at The World Trade Center.

(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

A seated woman holds a candle, her head buried in her folded arms

A woman cries during a candlelight vigil at Union Square Park in New York on Sept. 14, 2001.

(Wally Skalij/ Los Angeles Times )

Two men, alongside others, hug and cry

New York firefighters attend a funeral on Sept. 15, 2001.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

A man looks at missing-persons posters as another man walks past

Igor Tsigelman, left, of Brooklyn, looks at posters of people missing since the 9/11 attacks on what became known as the Wall of Prayers outside Bellevue Hospital.

(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

A woman, left foreground, stands among a group encircling candles and flowers

Eve Cheung attends a candlelight vigil at Union Square Park in New York on Sept. 24, 2001.

(Wally Skalij/ Los Angeles Times )

Photo editing from Jacob Moscovitch.

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