Photos Convey What Words Cannot

September 1, 2011 | By More

September 11, 2001, will be regarded as on of the most tragic days in American history. As commander of Arkansas-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), Dardanelle resident Tim Tackett is one of our brave citizens whose duty it is to run into the heart of disaster such as this.

“As soon as I saw everything that was happening on 9/11 I knew that my team would be deployed.” Tim’s unit is best described as a MASH unit and comes under federal control when catastrophe strikes anywhere in our nation. The team was bound for Ground Zero shortly after the flight ban was lifted and soon found themselves in a surreal landscape of death and destruction beyond anything they had faced before.

“It was very much like a funeral,” explained Tim, “Besides the obvious shock of witnessing all of this destruction, there was just the feel of a family funeral. Everywhere you looked there were people looking for family members, fire fighters and other emergency workers looking for fellow emergency workers.”

While Tim was there helping to save lives he also saw an opportunity to tell a story, a story that could reach beyond the pictures on the news and touch a more personal level.

“I’ve always been interested in photography, when my buddies were buying cars in high school I spent my money on a camera. I decided I would try to capture the human side of the tragedy so that people could maybe get that sense of loss that you experience when a family member passes on.”

This was of course a daunting task as the search for loved ones and fellow workers continued.

“It was emotionally taxing to do this. I had to be very respectful while at the same time be thorough. I just kept thinking about how I would feel if a stranger were taking pictures at the funeral of one of my family members,” Tim related. “I believe the pictures I took tell the story, while at the same time being very respectful of the lives lost that day.”

Tim, who was profoundly and deeply affected by his experiences, took between 500 and 600 photos on 35 mm film as well as 1,800 images on his digital camera.

His photos will be featured at the River Valley Arts Center in Russellville with an opening scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11th – the 10-year anniversary of the national tragedy. The exhibit will begin at 1 p.m. and will open with some words from Tim. In addition to the photographs, there will be some pieces of the rubble from Ground Zero for visitors to view. The exhibit is open to the public and will run throughout the month of September.

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