by Donna Rogers
Reprinted with permission from
Photographics Processing Magazine-Nov. 2001
The Photo Unit at the Fire Department of New York has been on
overdrive since September 11. With the loss of over 300 fellow
firefighters, the job is permeated with a profound heartache while
also being extremely hectic.
While the firefighters of this unit do not fight fires in their
capacity, they still do a valiant job, and were called to do so
on that fateful morning in September.
Lt. Richard Smiouskas, the head of the unit, responded to the
call at the World Trade Center and arrived early to document the
scene. He was there when the devastation started, when the first
tower collapsed. While he narrowly escaped, one of the two digital
cameras owned by unit, a Nikon D-1x, was destroyed.
have not been the same since then. The greatly-expanded workload
and the many tasks requested of them as a consequence of the WTC
attack challenged our system, says John Leavy, a member
of the unit, a photographer and a firefighter. What we had
wasnt adequate for this project.
Several photographic equipment vendors came to the units aid and
enabled the department to quickly gear up for its expanded role.
Due to the actions of Nikons Richard Lopinto, Fujifilms
Manny Almeida and others, the fire departments lab was equipped
with two extra Nikon D-1x digital camera outfits, a brand new
Fuji Frontier 350 minilab and several Lexar flash memory cards
to store images.
In addition to the gifts of gear, Nikon provided on-the-spot
training on their newest digital camera, which is reported to
have many more features than its previous model. The other companies
also contributed on-site training on hardware and recommendations
on new workflows and ways to increase productivity.
We started shooting a lot more digital work, Leavy
explains. And the donated equipment helped them keep up with the
demand and was enough to get us over the hump.
Images are stored and can be viewed on a PC using a program
called ACDC. Thumbnails can also be examined via the Frontier.
In the not-too-distant future the unit hopes to create a database
of the current days work so that department members can
simply go to the database and tap into the images they need.
Click to continue the article with Part
2 - Role of the Photographer
All photographs taken by the FDNY Photo Unit
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