Leslie in Paris this week

Leslie Rateni

When I was asked to photograph street style photos in Paris this week for the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag I felt more than a little uncomfortable. Is it the right thing to ask people about their style in this time and isn’t fashion the most redundant thing in the world right now ? It’s the question that has been on my mind since the horrific events of last friday, actually questioning my entire work. The writer who accompanied me had similar doubts. So this week I flew to Paris where I had been so many times and thought of staying longterm, this time with a feeling of anxiety I had never felt before a visit there.  And at the same time a sort of ‘fraternity’ feeling, I wanted to be there especially now. We started walking through the Marais this wednesday and my feeling of anxiety was quickly gone, the streets were full of life and even some happy faces. Like this one of pretty Leslie Rateni, a stylist who works in a clothing store. I loved her gamine look that was pretty much all Vintage without looking shabby at all, really the contrary. What struck me most though was her optimistic attitude. As we were walking through the city, photographing and talking to women it turned out to be a different day than I expected. Yes it felt off to ask about people’s style, but it was a way to connect, a first step that then led into a different conversation about Paris right now. Style is just one part that makes for an obvious joie de vivre.

The photos and text are published in today’s Welt am Sonntag.

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