Paris Vignettes: People-Watching in the City

Paris Vignettes: People-Watching in the City

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

Street photography aims to capture moments that tell a story, not just in the present but also years down the road. I recently looked through some old photos and found that the stories they tell have grown richer with time — what seemed ordinary when I took the shots have become a snapshot of history. I hope these recent photos will have a similar effect years from now.

Timing is crucial in street photography, whether it’s capturing a fleeting glance (“j’adore cette photographie” and “ca m’interesse”) or a spontaneous moment during a conversation (“c’est comme ça” and “s’entendre bien”). On a recent walk via the #ExploreParis platform, I saw my guide Sebastian greet a restaurant owner he knew, and their warm exchange was a joyful moment (“bienvenue la reunion”). There are also those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments, like someone walking home with a stack of baguettes (“fumeur avec ses bagettes”) or an actor rehearsing his lines in the park (“repetition buttes chaumont”). Protests are another powerful source of storytelling, where passion and commitment are palpable (“revolution comme d’hab”).

Ultimately, the goal is to capture genuine photos that tell a story both now and in the future (“vrai photos”). I’d love to hear which of these moments resonates with you the most — drop a comment and let me know your favorite!

ca m’interesse. Photo: William O’Such

c’est comme ça. Photo: William O’Such

cafe flore couple. Photo: William O’Such

fumeur avec des bagettes. Photo: William O’Such

guy savoy. Photo: William O’Such

j’adore cette photograph. Photo: William O’Such

paris et pluie. Photo: William O’Such

repetition buttes chaumont. Photo: William O’Such

revolution comme d’hab. Photo: William O’Such

s’entendre bien. Photo: William O’Such

vrais photos. Photo: William O’Such

Lead photo credit : bienvenue la reunion. Photo: 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