Reflections of Paris | The Power of Photography

There are moments that remain etched in our minds forever.  The birth of a child, a first kiss, the loss of a loved one or that feeling of freedom you felt when you embarked on a grand adventure.

World events often have the same effect on us.  I can only imagine what it felt like to watch the moon landing for the first time.  I wasn’t around then, born four years too late, but I can recall with absolute certainty where I was when the planes hit the towers on Sept 11th, 2001.  I was in a different country that day, 4500km away from New York, but I knew that the world changed that morning.  We all did.  Over the next few days we were inundated with images, reliving those horrific events over and over again.  As a paramedic, I felt a sense of loss for my brothers and sisters who died performing their duties.  As a human being, I felt an even greater sense of grief for everyone who was touched by what happened.  

A lifetime later, in 2016, I visited the World Trade Centre Memorial and was brought right back to that day by every photograph that I saw.  I was no longer working as a paramedic of course, PTSD ensured that, but the images brought back all of the emotions like it was yesterday.

That is the power of a photograph.  It can remind us of joy, of sadness, of triumph and of loss.  

Photographs are powerful.

I was teaching three weeks ago when news of the Notre-Dame fire started coming out.  Paris is a city that I love deeply, one that I visit often, and Notre-Dame is always my first stop when I arrive on the ground.  I am not Catholic, but there is something special about the area around the cathedral… especially at night.  I have spent countless evenings sitting on the riverbank just thinking, people watching and looking at the lights of the cathedral.  Notre-Dame represents hundreds of years of history.  Notre-Dame IS history, standing tall through World Wars and foreign occupation, so it was painful to watch it burn that day.  

Since then I have been going back through my images of Paris, re-visiting memories of past visits and experiences I have had there.  I found myself re-processing many of these images in black and white, perhaps a reflection of how I was feeling at the time?

I share these images with you now, some posted for the first time and others previously shared after past trips.  All images were taken with Fujifilm X Series cameras, predominantly the X100 series, and processed in Acros or Monochrome +R.

I’ll be back in Paris very soon for another workshop.  Until then, I have my photographic memories.



13 thoughts on “Reflections of Paris | The Power of Photography

  1. Luis Curran says:

    Ian, I’ve been following you for quite a while, but with a short memory! Do you always take B&W photos (my favourite genre) or do you sometimes take colour shots? And, if the latter, is there any magic formula you use to distinguish when to use one or the other? That’s still a quandary that eludes me.

    • Ian says:

      Hey Luis!

      I shoot in RAW usually, but my camera is set to black and white (Acros+R) when I am walking around shooting. I prefer to “see” in black and white when I am composing, regardless of the genre.

      In post production I lean heavily toward black and white for street images, usually only using colour if I think the colour adds to the overall composition.

      I hope that helps!



  2. Susie Naye says:

    Thank you, Ian. I thoroughly enjoyed these Paris B&W images. My favorite—still—is the elderly gentleman on the bridge. Rather classic!

  3. Ian says:

    These are very meaningful photos. I live in the Netherlands but have never been to Paris in the 4+ years I’ve lived in Europe. Also, I shoot almost entirely in black and white but there’s so much for me to learn about exposure from the photos here. Thanks for that! 🙂

    • Ian says:

      I love the Netherlands! I have been to Amsterdam 3 times, but haven’t yet explored the rest of the country. One day.



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