Chester Davis Judkins Jr: The tragic story of one man affected by the horrors of 9/11

We all remember where we were on 9/11. Who we were with, what we were doing. I remember coming home from work and seeing my brother sat with his friends in my parent's living room, watching the news and remarking on how there'd been an accident in New York. I just sat down with them, as we all watched in horror the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center. It was then that the reality hit us.

Brooklyn-based photographer Jennifer Judkins remembers that day only too well. Her father Chester Davis Judkins Jr. coordinated and serviced the equipment used in 9/11 recovery efforts, going back to Ground Zero several times in the months following the attacks to continue clean-up efforts until he began experiencing difficulty breathing.

Less than a year later, a growing list of health issues turned into congestive heart failure. He was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia, a defibrillator was placed in his chest, and a Hickman port implant in his neck. When he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2007, a systemic cancer that has been linked to toxic fume exposure from jet fuel, Jennifer made him the focus of her work.

She explains: "I documented the progression of my dad’s illnesses, the daily confrontation of life and death that takes place in a hospital, as well as the evolving complexity of his family relationships.

"Turning my camera toward my father fundamentally shifted my work. It let me process what was happening, to see and be present. I recorded a process so many 9/11 recovery workers’ families have lived, and are living, years after September 11, 2001. I now gravitate toward recording images that document struggle, recovery, and the ability to prevail."

Jennifer has just launched a new podcast series where individuals share their 9/11 stories. If you're interested, visit theripplepodcast.com. Or see more of Jennifer's beautiful work at jenniferjudkins.com.

Via direct submission | All images courtesy of Jennifer Judkins