The work I do on this, the most significant building project in the world, is by turn, exhilarating and humbling. It is exhilarating in the sense that every step forward in the process of rebuilding brings us closer to the completion of some truly astonishing skyscrapers, loaded with the latest state of the art materials. At the same time, I am also humbled knowing that I am just a witness to history being built, step by critical step.
Thus, to a certain extent, I must remain unconscious of the tremendous ground breaking activities around me so I can at least function on a daily basis. When I do look back years from now, I will only have an inkling of what really happened, but I will have stayed enough within the frame to capture some of what the big picture offered from the ground on up.
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Joe Woolhead has spent the last 23 years living and working in New York. After moving here, he mainly worked in construction as a stone mason until a serious accident put him out of commission. While recuperating, Joe rediscovered his creative side, writing poetry and taking photographs. He returned to college to pursue a degree in film. Then September 11th 2001 happened. Although living in Jackson Heights, Queens, Joe rushed downtown to capture the events of that tragic day as they unfolded. The images from that day and from subsequent days spent down at Ground Zero were published all over the world. This led to many more photographic opportunities over the next few years, working with some of New York’s premier photo agencies. Joe's work has been published in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Esquire, The Daily News, The New York Observer and many other publications. When the opportunity came to return to Ground Zero and photograph the rebuilding effort, Joe embraced it.