Photographer of Iconic 911 Flag-Raising Picture Visits SUNY Purchase, His Alma Mater

Iconic 911 photo by Thomas E. Franklin

Iconic 911 “Heroes” photo by Thomas E. Franklin

Did you know that this famous 911 photograph was taken by a Purchase alum?

Thomas E. Franklin (Class of ’88) was a VA photography student at Purchase and segued into newspaper journalism after graduating as a way to make a living. He’s had an enviable career – just this month he was “outed” as one of the judges for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, a tremendous honor (that’s supposed to be a secret!). He was back on campus Monday talking to students from the journalism program about his extensive career as an award-winning photojournalist, and fondly recalling his years at Purchase (scroll down to see pictures from back then).

Tom Franklin with journalism students (l to r) Samantha Stone, Tanira Wiggins, Lindsay Wilson and Corinne Santiago.

Tom Franklin with journalism students (l to r) Samantha Stone, Tanira Wiggins, Lindsay Wilson and Corinne Santiago.

Tom’s portfolio shows a breadth of ability, but he is best known for the flag-raising photograph he took during the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center for The Bergen Record. The image was chosen by President Bush to grace a commemorative stamp which has raised more than $10 million for the families of 911.

Tom Franklin, far right, with President Bush

Tom Franklin, far right, with President Bush and the three firefighters

The picture was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 and was named by Life magazine as one of the “100 Photographs that Changed the World.” Tom often gets asked why that image, out of all the images taken that day, emerged to symbolize the event. He said he believes it’s because, in part, so many horrific pictures were taken that illustrate the horror of that day, but his “Heroes” picture communicates a more positive, patriotic sensitivity.

Tom in a darkened classroom talking to journalism students about his photograph

Tom Franklin in a darkened classroom talking to journalism students about his “Heroes” photograph

Tom visited Prof. Breen’s Journalism 2 class and my Journalism 1 class to talk about his work and take questions from students. He taught briefly in the journalism program at Purchase as an adjunct about a decade ago and now teaches photojournalism and visual storytelling at Ramapo College in New Jersey. He still works for The Bergen Record, taking photos and making videos for them.

Tom fondly recalled his days on campus, where he met his wife, Annemarie. She was Annemarie Rzodkiewicz back then, a graphic design major. She s now a production manager for Pearson Education. They have a son together and live in Bergen County, NJ.

Here’s Tom and Annemarie at graduation in 1988:

Purchase TOM ANNEMARIE PURCHASE 03-1 copy

Here they are at Tom’s senior show. Gotta love the 80s!

Purchase TOM ANNEMARIE PURCHASE 02-1 copy

Tom’s covered a lot of sports as a photographer, but he was a bit of an athlete himself during his student days. Here’s a picture of  ‘Sudden Impact,’  which Tom describes as “a legendary” intramural softball team, 1987-88, taken in front of the athletic center. Tom’s second from left.

PURCHASE SUDDEN IMPACT-1 copy 2

Here’s a picture of the SUNY Purchase basketball team (partial) from 1988. Tom’s number 20.

PURCHASE BASKETBALL TEAM copy

It was inspiring to have a Purchase alum of Tom E. Franklin’s caliber back on campus. Undoubtedly one of our Purchase Heroes.

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2 Comments

Filed under Purchase Journalism Alums

2 responses to “Photographer of Iconic 911 Flag-Raising Picture Visits SUNY Purchase, His Alma Mater

  1. Yelin, Louise

    Bravissima.

  2. donnacornachio

    Great, great piece, Tara. Love the photos, too. Donna Cornachio

    Assistant Professor of Journalism Faculty Adviser, The Brick http://www.thepurchasebrick.com Purchase College State University of New York 735 Anderson Hill Road Library, Lower level, Room 009C Purchase, NY 10577 914.251.6590

    Spring 2013 Office Hours: Tuesday and Friday 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday by appointment ________________________________________

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