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Visual tribute to ironworkers inspired by early photographers

Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Damon Winter spent five days in July with the iron workers responsible for rebuilding the Manhattan skyline atop One World Trade Center. He joins MSNBC's Martin Bashir to share the images he witnessed.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

A construction worker hangs on a wrecking ball pulley while working on the Empire State Building in New York. The Chrysler building is behind him.

Damon Winter's stunning photographs of ironworkers will be featured in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine. I was impressed that writer Randy Kennedy, in his "Ironworkers in the Sky" story featured the historic connection between ironworkers and photojournalists:

In fact, it sometimes seems as if the very existence of the men who build skylines by hand has been inextricably linked to the existence of the men (they have mostly been men) who have photographed them — first lugging their wooden view cameras, with tripods and dark cloths, then their Speed Graphics and Leicas — to the places where steel meets sky, giving flesh and bone to ironworkers who otherwise would have been phantoms of progress, risking their lives, unseen, hundreds of feet above the city.

The names of many of the photographers, working for newspapers or construction companies, have been forgotten. But some were titans: Lewis Hine, who applied his compassion for the working class to the builders of the Empire State Building; Bruce Davidson, who poetically chronicled the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.