Paris Vignettes: The City’s Walls and Storefronts

Paris Vignettes: The City’s Walls and Storefronts

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

The artistic facades that grace the Parisian landscape form an integral and enchanting part of the city’s identity. A discerning eye can appreciate the dedication of store owners who invest extra effort in crafting captivating window displays (“dingue de lunettes”, “on attends”). Meanwhile, the timeless ambiance of restaurants with their warm greetings (“resto de Bourgogne”, “bonjour madame”, “loulou le chef”) contribute to the city’s unique character.

Strolling through the streets near the Bastille unveils unexpected delights, from the allure of street art (“acrobatique”) to hidden treasures like the intriguing murals (“improbable”). A surprise encounter with superheroines gracing an alley wall (“super femmes”) adds an element of wonder to the urban tapestry.

One particularly fascinating and ever-evolving piece of art is found in the 7th arrondissement — the home of Serge Gainsbourg (“maison gainsbourg”). A seemingly chaotic burst of paint, this creation not only mirrors the messiness of paint but also, perhaps, reflects the spirit of the legendary artist himself.

As daylight fades, the windows of restaurants transform into alluring displays, showcasing meticulously arranged bottles (“fenetre dans le cité”). In the evening glow, even windows adorned with strategically placed shoes or other curiosities (“chaussures perdues”) evoke a sense of mystery and intrigue. A science school’s commitment to artistic expression is evident in the clever representations of various sciences, a testament to the creative minds at work within its walls (“chemie”).

So, as you leisurely meander through the Paris streets, take a few extra moments to immerse yourself in the stories told by these facades — perhaps, in doing so, you’ll find that they are not merely silent observers but are, in fact, casting a discerning gaze back at you (“on te voir”).

bonjour madame, Photo Credit: William O’Such

bar dansant, Photo Credit: William O’Such

chaussures perdues, Photo Credit: William O’Such

céline et maurice, Photo Credit: William O’Such

dingue de lunettes, Photo Credit: William O’Such

chemie, Photo Credit: William O’Such

ébéniste et anarchiste, Photo Credit: William O’Such

fenetre dans le cité, Photo Credit: William O’Such

improbable, Photo Credit: William O’Such

loulou le chef, Photo Credit: William O’Such

maison gainsbourg, Photo Credit: William O’Such

on attends, Photo Credit: William O’Such

resto de bourgogne, Photo Credit: William O’Such

on te voir, Photo Credit: William O’Such

super femmes, Photo Credit: William O’Such

Lead photo credit : acrobatique, 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