I’m sure there’s not one person over the last 24 hours who hasn’t gone back through their old Paris holidays photos looking for a few of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The news last night that this beautiful medieval building had caught fire, and the images being shown on television and across social media of the flames engulfing the spire until it eventually collapsed, shocked everyone.
I’ve been to Paris three times now, and each time I’ve had the opportunity to visit the cathedral. Unfortunately the only photographs I have that managed to survive a hard drive failure a while back are a few from 2011, and it was those that I went hunting for this evening.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the years telling myself off for spending too much time taking photographs of buildings and not enough of people, but this was one instance when I was delighted I’d been a bit trigger happy with the camera. We’d taken one of those barge trips down the Seine and, when we were passing the cathedral, I took the photo above (and about a hundred others).
I have other photos of that trip to Paris with family members in them, but so many that are of just buildings and architecture. In recent years, and especially since being widowed (and discovering that you can never have enough photos of loved ones), I’ve started taking selfies – lots of selfies of myself, of friends and of family, and the buildings and the historical sites haven’t featured as much.
And I realise that both have their place. There’s no reason not to capture the time, the place, and the people, or one without the other, or as many photographs as you want to. It’s all about the memories.