It wasn’t the trip we’d planned. It wasn’t the Friday night the majority of people had planned. We were lucky; a forgotten set of keys and what might have been.

We were in Paris the weekend of the terrorist attacks. Whilst deeply saddened, shocked and since troubled by it; we came home. Hugged by friends and relatives and helped through the weeks after at work by colleagues, we thank everyone for their concern. Others weren’t so lucky. 

Our thoughts are with them and their families.

Events in Paris that Friday night circulated round the world unbelievable quickly leading to all sorts of issues. For us, it meant trying to contact family and friends to let them know we were safe without alarming them. Work colleagues were sending messages of concern too. We responded as best and appropriately as we could.

People didn’t need to be there to be affected and events like these impact many people in many different ways.

There are a few articles I read in the days that followed that really resonated with my mixed up thoughts. They reflect on the use and interpretation of use of social media to signal and express views and feelings. Firstly by Helen Reynolds on calling out virtue signalling, then Sali Hughes on one-upmanship, one about capitalising on grief by Jessica Reed, this one on how social media shapes media coverage by Sulman Deb Roy and this one about learning practice by Julie Dryborough

Julie writes the following and I’m quoting direct as it’s a perfect summary:

“At times like these, when my heart rages at injustices and weeps at loss, I could become overwhelmed and stupid. So I come back to the practices I learned through working dialogically:

Suspend Judgement
Actively Listen
Speak Authentically
Respect Others.”

I wish that was universal. Especially the last point.

I also recognised things in my timelines that the above links cover. That’s how the world is. None of us perfect, but hopefully learning.

Recently, I’ve been seeing where I go, not so much in terms of the place but more in terms of how people interact with their surroundings. I’ve been considering the ethics of capturing and sharing images of people interacting with public places. I’m documenting that here but in summary, having permission to take photos and publish is one thing but it being, and feeling, the right thing to do is another.

That Friday night wasn’t the right time for me to capture images of people interacting apart from this image below and the header image*.

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It didn’t stop some of the world’s media showing people’s intimate and heartfelt interaction with a place. They have to do a job; to tell the world. I get that but it involves disrespecting people in their time of grief, even if they choose to show it in a public space.

So, here are some pictures of a beautiful city with very few people.

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*The header photo was taken discretely in a metro station. It felt awkward taking it but I made sure the girl carrying the flowers was unaware and I made sure not to capture her face.

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