Paris Vignettes: Unique Objects

Paris Vignettes: Unique Objects

Though inanimate objects are never part of pure street photography, I still love capturing them when they tell an interesting story – the theme of this edition of “Paris Vignettes.” One of my favorite recent art exhibits in Paris was the Christian Marclay show at the Centre Pompidou where there were many curious pieces of art. Part of this visual artist’s approach is to transform, merge or extend “everyday” objects into art pieces. You can see an example in my photo “transformation des albums” — Marclay took album covers and aligned them to create a guitar. Another example: he took an accordion and extended it (“virtuoso”).

At another Centre Pompidou exhibit, I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this cacophony of objects in “pour vendre”. Individually, many would view the items as junk, but combined together in a careful manner, the artist turned them into an art piece that attracts your attention. 

Taking this inspiration, I walked through a flea market near Bastille where some vendors took their time to present items in a compelling manner as in “quatre briquets” or “les medaillons”. I also found this aesthetic approach at a wonderful market in the Place des Vosges. An artist was selling unique metal art pieces, as you can see below in “l’amour dans Paris”. 

Wandering along the streets in Le Marais the various shop windows showcase installation art pieces (“rien du tout”). Heading towards Place de la République, I did a double-take when I saw a school where you can learn to be a magician with a carefully crafted window display  (“devienne magician”). However, my favorite snapshot of objects was in early evening up in Montmartre where a studio (“atelier dans Montmartre”) had a collection of gnomes, robots, high-school photos, lamps, etc that made you wonder what exactly they did there.

Devienne Magicien, Photo credit: William O’Such

Chaussures Pret à Porter, Photo credit: William O’Such

l’amour Dans Paris, Photo credit: William O’Such

Les Metiers, Photo credit: William O’Such

Les Médaillons, Photo credit: William O’Such

Madonna, Photo credit: William O’Such

Pour Vendre, Photo credit: William O’Such

Quatre Briquets, Photo credit: William O’Such

Rien du Tout, Photo credit: William O’Such

Virtuoso, Photo credit: William O’Such

Transformation des Albums, Photo credit: William O’Such

Lead photo credit : Atelier Dans Montmartre, Photo credit: William O'Such

More in Paris Vignettes, photography in Paris, street photography

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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