Paris Vignettes: The Shoes of Paris

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Paris Vignettes: The Shoes of Paris

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

While taking a guided Explore Paris walk to explore the Popincourt neighborhood between Nation and the Bastille, we entered one of the several new 4* hotels in the area called the Hotel Les Deux Girafes and saw a photo exhibition which inspired me. After the walk, I sat down on a park bench in a local Marais park and for a few hours observed the shoes of people passing by. I realized how the shoes seemed to reflect each person’s style and were much nicer and more fascinating than the sneakers of San Francisco, where I live most of the time.

Over the next few days, I started capturing the vast range of shoes around me, whether it was while standing in the metro line 1, heading up escalators at Les Halles, hanging out in a Saint Germain café, resting on a park bench in the Place des Vosges, or walking in a park along the Seine near Pont Neuf. Some of them had little motion, some were in full Parisian sprint and others sadly just escaped my lens. They all had one thing in common, they all told a story! Looking forward to your comments as I share my first set of “Shoes of Paris”.

PS. The walk itself was very interesting especially if you don’t know the area and its evolution from wholesale stores to a vibrant community- the residents themselves contributing to the evolution. Watch for some “interesting people” pictures from the Popincourt neighborhood in a future photo essay!

Photo by William O’Such

Photo by William O’Such

Photo by William O’Such

Photo by William O’Such

Photo by William O’Such

Photo by William O’Such

Photo by William O’Such

Photo by William O’Such

Photo by William O’Such

Photo by William O’Such

Lead photo credit : Photo by 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 www.osuchphotography.com

Comments

  • Martha Sessums
    2024-04-21 05:23:23
    Martha Sessums
    Love the shoe pictures, plus how the rules for wearing shoes have changed. Wear what you want – what goes with your outfit, what is comfortable, fun, trendy, old, new.

    REPLY

    • WILLIAM OSUCH
      2024-04-21 11:03:28
      WILLIAM OSUCH
      Hi Martha - absolutely! Definitely more thought put into shoe choices in Paris. I was studying shoes (well rather sneakers) on the N train the other day .... Best, Bill

      REPLY