Skywalkers: The Legacy of the Mohawk Ironworker at the World Trade Center is a collection of thirty tintype portraits of Mohawk Ironworkers who volunteered in the rescue efforts after 9/11 and were an integral part of the construction of One World Trade, Towers 2, 3, and 4 and the Calatrava Transportation Hub.
Artist Melissa Cacciola photographed thirty men from the Kahnawake reservation in Canada in an effort to continue the next chapter of the 9/11 story: chronicling the rebirth of an icon while recording a disappearing tradition of storied tradesmen.
Using the historic process of the tintype (a photographic positive on a lacquered metal plate, invented during the 1850s), Cacciola created individual portraits of each ironworker using a large format camera, period brass lenses, and hand-made film emulsions. Some of the earliest known tintypes in existence are of Native American subjects giving further relevance to the use of this nineteenth-century process.
Skywalkers: The Legacy of the Mohawk Ironworker at the World Trade Center results in a series of haunting photographs of this small community of men. These unique portraits bear witness to lives deeply lived: flawed characters, fears and aspirations, and storied histories, all revealed in a ten-second exposure before the camera.