The ascent of the falling man: Establishing a picture's iconicity

Rob Kroes, Miles Orvell, Alan Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Why is it that some photographs have a power of epic concentration, condensing larger moments in history into one iconic image? This piece about the photography of 9/11 addresses this question. Its focus is on one photograph in particular, Richard Drew's image of the Falling Man. Central to the argument is the awareness of a paradox: to explore something quintessentially photographic the force of images that give them iconic power using a medium for reflection and communication that is inherently non-photographic: i.e. language. The author aims at accounting for the fascination of Drew's image, in a struggle to find words to describe its impact. To that end he looks at how others the photographer himself, and other creative minds, in essay form, fiction or graphic novels have translated their fascination into language that may help us account for the way this image continues to haunt us.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e47
JournalJournal of American Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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