The Falling Man is a photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew, of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks in New York City. The subject of the image—whose identity remains uncertain but is speculated to be that of Jonathan Briley — was one of the people trapped on the upper floors of the skyscraper who apparently either fell as they searched for safety or jumped to escape the fire and smoke. At least 200 people fell or jumped to their deaths that day.
Regarding the social and cultural significance of The Falling Man, theologian Mark D. Thompson says that “perhaps the most powerful image of despair at the beginning of the twenty-first century is not found in art, or literature, or even popular music. It is found in a single photograph.”