The Falling Man


Some believe this man to be Jonathan Briley who worked on the 106th floor of the North Tower. Others believe he may be Norberto Hernandez.

Whatever his identity, he remains as one of the most haunting images of the September 11th attacks: tragic figures either forced to jump rather than choke on smoke or be burned alive or perhaps even blown out of the windows.


The jumper photographs make clear to us the utter vulnerability of the victims; they present us with terrorism as a human experience, not just a political crime. Those trapped in the Towers had only two choices—to jump to their deaths or to be incinerated—which is to say they had no choice at all. To moralize either “choice”—to despise one as cowardly and valorize the other as heroic—is to misunderstand both. What the 9/11 victims faced was the absence of options.