Paris Vignettes: Outlines and Silhouettes

Paris Vignettes: Outlines and Silhouettes

The Paris Vignettes series features the inspired work of street photographer William “Bill” O’Such in themed installments

Winter’s embrace, with its icy breath and skeletal trees, unveils a distinct opportunity to capture the enchanting silhouettes that define Paris. Embarking on a journey from Square de Temple in our arrondissement (“Square de Temple”), trees weave an intricate and somewhat diabolical tapestry against the backdrop of a cloudy sky. Their meticulously crafted forms (“arbre dans le marais”) harmonize with the equally artistic surroundings, while along the Seine (“les arbres de la seine”), they seamlessly integrate into the city’s skyline.

Expanding the narrative, the streetlights (“pres de notre dame”) and even the barbed wire encircling Notre Dame (“fil barbelé”) add an unexpected dimension as a silhouette. The windows of a store under construction, painted over yet etched in a unique manner (“fenetre en travaux”), present an irreplicable charm. Statues (“de Gaulle”) collapse into a single dimension, sharing a more direct story, while landmarks (“grand palais”) deliver a dynamic message, allowing you to focus your gaze with newfound directness (“place de la republique”).

Even within the hallowed halls of museums, this flattened aesthetic (“roue de modernité”) transforms artworks, rendering them somehow more captivating than their original three-dimensional counterparts. Perhaps most transformative are the rooftops, which, when viewed as outlines (“toits de Belleville”), reveal the intricacies of each neighborhood (“toits ile saint louis”) in a uniquely compelling way (“toits menilmontant”). Thus, like these soaring birds (“en volant”), savor the winter sky through a different lens, finding joy in its altered perspective.

arbre dans le marais, Photo Credit: William O’Such

de gaulle, Photo Credit: William O’Such

en volant, Photo Credit: William O’Such

fenetre en travaux, Photo Credit: William O’Such

fil barbelé, Photo Credit: William O’Such

fin de automne, Photo Credit: William O’Such

hiver arrive, Photo Credit: William O’Such

les arbres de la seine, Photo Credit: William O’Such

place de la republique, Photo Credit: William O’Such

pres de notre dame, Photo Credit: William O’Such

roue de modernité, Photo Credit: William O’Such

square de temple, Photo Credit: William O’Such

toits ile saint louis, Photo Credit: William O’Such

toits de belleville, Photo Credit: William O’Such

toits menilmontant, Photo Credit: William O’Such

Lead photo credit : grand palais, Photo Credit: William O'Such

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William was introduced to silver halide photography by his father, Chester J. O’Such, via the family’s Ansco reflex camera and home darkroom. After college, William worked as a photographic engineer at Eastman Kodak, where he began to learn the art of photography. With his first SLR, a Canon AE-1, he photographed his inaugural voyage to Paris in 1982. This early spark turned into full passion when William became a Kodak expatriate in Paris from 1995-99. Before returning to the USA, William and his future wife Ineke bought an apartment in the Marais district. Inspired by Bresson, William continues to visit Paris at least twice a year to wander the streets, camera in hand, looking for the next vignette. His photos are available for sale by visiting