Paris Vignettes: Reflections

Paris Vignettes: Reflections

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

I like to think I’ve found an additional layer of Parisian charm by pausing to observe reflections of everyday life in all manner of surfaces: canals, mirrors, and puddles. Courtesy of Paris Greeters, I enjoyed a sun-lit Saturday stroll with a guide, local resident Jean-François, along the Canal de l’Ourcq. Instantly captivated by the magical canal reflections, I listened to anecdotes about the history of the area JF called”the Brooklyn of Paris.” Meanwhile, runners gracefully traversed the open space (“courir le long du canal,” “quatre arbes”), creating Monet-like reflections. Further along, JF casually mentioned a nightclub beneath the péripherique (“le périph”), where they can play music as loudly as they want without any complaints.

On another occasion, while strolling along Canal Saint-Martin with Melinda and Arnie from San Francisco, we found ourselves in a perfect setting for reflections (“reflets canal saint martin”). The bridges, buildings, and lively birds (“ecluse canal saint martin”) added an animated touch to the landscape. Progressing towards the Bastille (“traversant le canal”), we encountered a beautiful harbor adorned with artistic boats (“trois bateaux”) dotting the Port de Paris Arsenal.

Indoor reflections took center stage at a recent exhibit by Sophie Calle, one of my favorites. Deconstructed mirrors offered glimpses of street photography-like scenes (“surpris”), sparking curiosity about the unfolding conversations. However, the shimmering allure of the Seine in the evening, especially after a winter rain (“apres la pluie”), remains a sight unparalleled, ensuring a breathtaking spectacle that transcends the boundaries of outdoor and indoor reflections in the heart of Paris.

apres la pluie, Photo Credit: William O’Such

canal d’ourcq, Photo Credit: William O’Such

courir le long du canal, Photo Credit: William O’Such

le périph, Photo Credit: William O’Such

ecluse canal saint martin, Photo Credit: William O’Such

quatre arbes, Photo Credit: William O’Such

surpris, Photo Credit: William O’Such

traversant le canal, Photo Credit: William O’Such

trois bateaux, Photo Credit: William O’Such

Lead photo credit : reflets canal saint martin, Photo Credit: William O'Such

More in Paris Vignettes, street photography

Previous Article The Story Behind Chagall’s Stunning Ceiling at the Paris Opera
Next Article Film Review: Cédric Kahn’s “Making Of”

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