The name of the book I review today is, September 11 2001, Words and Pictures by Veronica Lawlor. Just like plein air painting which is done in the open, graphic reportage is on-location drawings/sketching/painting done while capturing events at the speed of the events itself. This book captures two records, the story of September 11 and the collapse of Twin Towers as it happens but with the mark making, the reader also senses the terror, the adrenaline and the grit of the reporter, Ms. Lawlor. What pencil strokes emote, photographs cannot. Ms. Lawlor drew what she saw, added words when required and recorded her feelings. Her story brings you closer to the story, with compassion. We are a group of plein air painters and often want to improve our drawing, especially life drawing. This book reminded me of how having practice allowed Lawlor to take line for a continuous journey and capture people and chaos. It is a must add for every collection – there really is no higher personal authenticity than a report done while New York was under attack. In such a moment of terror, no fabrication nor second thoughts could’ve been entertained.
This is the only known publication of drawings done during the terrorist attack on our country. Her original works have been exhibited at New York City Fire Museum and the cover image is on display at the Newseum museum of journalism in Washington DC. Lawlor is currently on the faculty of Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design, and conducts private reportage workshops worldwide. On the 20th anniversary of the attacks, she updated her blog with the day’s graphic reportage as well. You can read it here.
To buy the book: LINK