Multimedia Journalism professor and former newspaper photographer Thomas E. Franklin was featured on an episode of the new PBS series The Bigger Picture for his iconic photograph Raising the Flag at Ground Zero, which depicts firefighters at the World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Hosted by Harvard University professor and historian Vincent Brown, The Bigger Picture explores American history through recognizable photographs that portray national culture and identity.
In the episode titled “The Hero Shot,” which aired on September 6, Franklin shares his experience of that catastrophic day when he captured the heroism of the firefighters as well as his experience of his work becoming a cultural phenomenon.
“When a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, I rushed to get there as quickly as any other photojournalist did to take pictures, and I happened to witness a significant moment that became a symbol of that day,” Franklin says. “The power of the picture has little to do with me. I’m proud of it, and I’m happy that the picture has done so much good to raise money, but it’s really about the feeling and emotion that people feel when looking at it.”