Paris Vignettes: Summer Shadows and Silhouettes

Paris Vignettes: Summer Shadows and Silhouettes

When one thinks of shadows, you immediately think of winter and its low sun, but actually there are windows of a summer day with wonderfully long shadows and captivating silhouettes. Think of early evening as you glance down from Pont Marie towards the walkway along the Seine (“les ombres du soir”) or as you watch groups of people walking through Les Halles (“vers Les Halles”) or admiring the setting sun over Paris (“bonne soirée”).

Another photo opportunity is to look up as the sun backlights people looking towards Paris from the hills of Suresnes, glancing at the Seine or watching boats pass through the locks of Canal Saint Martin (“regardant vers Paris”, “seul sur un pont” or “on attends et on regards”). The city’s parks, with their dense foliage, create unique shadow opportunities whether it is in the Place des Vosges (“attendant dans la place des Vosges”) or on a bench in Les Tuileries (“reflechant dans les Tuileries”).

And one of my favorite moments: After walking over 20,000 steps in the Paris streets, I was headed back to Le Marais on metro line 1, and when I exited the station, there was a final silhouette of that day (“sortant le metro Saint Paul”).

This installment of Paris Vignettes features photos created on a trip in August 2023.

les ombres du soir. Photo credit: William O’Such

les cheminées sur Ile Saint Louis. Photo credit: William O’Such

bonne soirée. Photo credit: William O’Such

la mairie de Pantin. Photo credit: William O’Such

attendant dans la Place des Vosges. Photo credit: William O’Such

vers les Halles. Photo credit: William O’Such

sortant le metro saint paul. Photo credit: William O’Such

seul sur un pont. Photo credit: William O’Such

regardant vers Paris. Photo credit: William O’Such

Lead photo credit : On attends, on regards. 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