Paris Vignettes: Unique People in the City

Paris Vignettes: Unique People in the City

Paris will forever be a vast stage with its characters telling countless stories. Every day these stories unfold and — as quickly as they appear — they disappear, replaced by new stories. An element of street photography is to capture these fleeting moments that can never be reproduced: preserving these stories that can never be retold. In each picture, I always wonder what is that conversation and what is la suite?

Here are some of the moments captured in this edition of “Paris Vignettes.” Wandering down rue des Gravilliers in the Marais district, I was checking out the terrace of the resto “Derrière” and about to take a picture, when two people stepped in for a brief embrace. Then just as quickly as they appeared, they disappeared. A similar “au hazard” situation appeared when I was taking a walking tour in French with my favorite local guide and suddenly several pompiers jumped into the water (“au secours”), showing off their excellent acrobatic skills. Yet another transitional moment arrived when a group of waitresses who were gathered in a circle smoking were suddenly called to work (“au taf”) and walked in a line to the maître d’ — reminding me of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. Other photos in the rain (“la pluie est jolie”) or just a simple brasserie (“tout est calme”) are great memories but my favorite is the stylish gentlemen at a café dressed impeccably in black (“haut Marais”) whose attention to detail even included little lobsters on his shoes.

Enjoy all of these “vignettes” of Paris life in August 2022 that one might never see again. Ponder the conversation or story behind each one and drop a comment below.

A black and white photo of a man sat outside a cafe with his motorcycle helmet on a table

Haut Marais © William O’Such

A photo of two people hugging beneath trees at the end of an ally

Derrière les embraces © William O’Such

A photo of people jumping into water

Au Secours © William O’Such

A photo of a man sat at a bar under an impressive light

Tout est calme © William O’Such

A photo of waitresses walking across the road towards le Relais de l' Entrecote

Au taf © William O’Such

a photo of 4 people playing brass instruments wearing colourful hats with a propeller on top

Musique qui font rire @ William O’Such

A photo of people outside a cafe

Lecture 17h15 © William O’Such

a time lapse photo of a woman in the middle of an impressive building with blurred passers by

Pantheon et moi © William O’Such

Two people sat on a curb

Styling en colour © William O’Such

A man with cables

Electricité costaud © William O’Such

A photo of two people under a canopy waiting for the rain to stop

La Pluie est jolie © William O’Such

A photo of a woman walking in front of a poster

Sorte de pub © William O’Such

Lead photo credit : Dans un piscine © William OSuch

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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