Electrician took haunting photos from inside World Trade Center in the weeks leading to 9/11
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Featured Image Credit: Konstantin Petrov/Fotki/Getty Images
In the weeks before the tragic events of 9/11, an electrician working inside the World Trade Center captured what would turn out to be some of the last photos taken while it was still intact.
Konstantin Petrov, an immigrant from Estonia, was one of thousands of people who worked in the Twin Towers before their collapse in 2001.
Unlike many of the office workers, however, Petrov worked at night, after most other people had gone home.
He worked as an electrician at Windows on the World, the restaurant which sat at the top of the north tower of the World Trade Center, and in the summer of 2001 he took advantage of his unique position to capture hundreds of digital photos from inside the building.
After his shift came to an end at 8.00am, Petrov usually hung around to enjoy a coffee with the workers coming in to start their days. But not on 11 September, 2001.
That morning, he went to the parking lot in the basement to get his car, and it was as he was driving out that the first plane struck the building.
All Petrov had witnessed was a bit of debris, so he didn't think much of it until he got home and turned on the news.
After capturing his unique view of the World Trade Center, Petrov shared his photos on an Estonian site called Fotki, and it was there that a researcher came across them while working on a documentary for filmmaker Erik Nelson in 2014.
The haunting photos offer a view most people will never have seen: the inside of the World Trade Center, before it became the subject of photos capturing the aftermath of the attacks.
Petrov's photos show the sun illuminating the interior of the building; the empty restaurant with its tables made up ready for diners; and empty stairwells with waiting elevators.
Viewers have described the photos as 'eerie' and 'beautiful' after they were shared online and posted on TikTok.
It was Petrov's friend, Dmitri Don, who persuaded him to move to New York in 1998, when Petrov was 25 years old.
He had previously created and sold boxes to hack TV signals from Finland, but after moving to the US he got a student visa, then a green card via marriage.
Recalling Petrov's journey, Don told The New Yorker: “When he got this job at World Trade Center, we were all, like, ‘No way! World Trade Center is, like, so cool.”
After doing some research into the photographer, Nelson learned that Petrov had died a year after he got the job at Windows on the World, when he flipped his bike on the West Side Highway.