As I sit here to write this blog post, it’s hard to remember the joy I had doing this photo shoot. It was my first professional shoot in Paris since I moved back, and I was so excited to stand on the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, with the Eiffel Tower and the Seine in the background. The photos were meant to be a homecoming announcement to my followers on this blog and on Instagram, a perfect postcard sent to everyone showing my return to my beloved Paris and all its glorious beauty. My clothes were not new. They were all bought when I lived in Paris before, and they felt “right” on my body for the first time since I moved away in 2012. This shoot took place one long week ago… Everyone knows what’s happened since then.
I live in the neighborhood of the shootings. The café on my street is riddled with bullets, and I was on the Rue de Charonne 30 minutes before it happened. A skateboarding buddy of mine was not so lucky and tragically died at the café where he was having dinner. All of us in Paris know someone who has been affected by this senseless tragedy, and as I write this, three days after it occurred and an hour after having visited the shrine at Place de la République dedicated to both the victims and the defiant French spirit, I am again reminded that I moved back for a reason. Like all of us who move here, I arrived to fulfill a dream, to pursue a life of culture, to be a part of a society that honors beauty and art. As the healing of my city and its inhabitants begins, we are all putting one foot in front of the other, going on with our days, moving forward with our lives. We have to.
I am a Parisian now… and I am not afraid.
Photography credit :: Antonio Barros