Originally taken from a helicopter by Tom Newby—Powerboat magazine’s longtime chief photographer—in the summer of 2001, the iconic image below captured offshore raceboats on New York’s Hudson River with a backdrop that would never be captured again. The photo was used to create a Powerboat magazine poster that was sold with the proceeds benefiting the families of first responders who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Less than three months after the September 11 attacks, Newby was in a helicopter again for a photo shoot over the coast of Bristol, R.I., for a February 2002 Powerboat feature on Outerlimits Powerboats founder Mike Fiore called, “The Son Also Rises.” With temperatures in the low- to mid-50s, the cloudless day of the shoot—December 5—was unseasonably warm for that part of the world.
I remember it perfectly, not just because I rode the in the helicopter with Newby and watched Paul and Mike Fiore run an Outerlimits V-bottom from above, or that Newby and I had epic headaches from our celebratory dinner the night before with the father-and-son duo, but because December 5 is my birthday. I also remember that date because Newby bought me a birthday drink later that day at the airport in Providence before we flew home.
That was far from the first time I’d been away from home on assignment on my birthday. It comes with the job. Still, it’s nice to be with your family, if only for a moment, on your birthday. And Newby was family, as was Mike Fiore. All in all, it was a pretty damn good way to turn 41 years old.
Newby died six years later on September 11 in a helicopter accident during a magazine photo shoot off Sarasota, Fla. He was 50 years old. Fiore died a little more than two weeks ago on August 26. He was 44. They’re gone, but the people whose lives they touched, the people who loved them and appreciated all the beauty and joy they brought to the world, are not.
So we remember.