Notre Dame Experience

A sad sight to watch such a symbolic and historical building which lasted 850 years was 200 years in the making and took some 63 minutes to be devastated. But it was just a building after all – well not for the French people it isn’t it is a symbol of France surviving a revolution and 2 World Wars. For me to see something so beautiful damaged is very sad, Glasgow recently lost the Rennie Mackintosh Glasgow School of Art also to fire. Dresden, Coventry all lost not only buildings but lives, Norway and more recently New Zealand suffered horrific human tragedy – I could go on and on but we can and we will rebuild or indeed something new and fresh will be regenerated. Life will continue – people and art will show us how.


    1. Sylvia you know my military background – but I believe art has the answers to so much. It is only a building after all but when you see the reaction of people from all around the world you recognise that buildings like this are so much more (religion, art, nature and social fabric). I know France will rebuild and refresh this gem. To me a fire like this highlights how precious life is and how rapidly things change.

  1. Not much more to be said about an event as tragic as this, you have said it all. Treasure the memories and move forward is all we can do. Tbh I am not sure how I would feel if they rebuild it exactly as it was, it would need a modern influence somehow, though I dispair at some of the efforts of modern architecture.
    Thanks for posting your pictures, for those of us who will now not get to see in person, and for those who mourn the loss of what they saw in better days.

    1. I totally agree Sonja, however I would expect a fresh interpretation will be the approach. Building such as these have survived much longer that our limited human existence. Each time they are reborn – they adopt something new, I am glad the images offer taster of how it was but – I fully expect France will apply real resolve is refurbishing this ( St Georges Chapel – Windsor as a recent example) and you will get your opportunity to visit in the next 6 years is my prediction…

  2. As always love your images. On the wider issue I am not sure where we go from here…..we seem as a society (worldwide) to have lost our way and there is no strong leadership to get us back on course. You mentioned Coventry…well they took a fresh approach there and didn’t rebuild but built a new Cathedral. I remember it well as I was sent as my first assignment for a company I had joined to secure the first images for the official souvenir publications. 5×4 film Ektachrome of 15asa (iso) very long exposures!. My boss then had to take them for approval by Basil Spence the Architect for his approval. He ran a set square over the angles to make sure they were correct….. as he said this is my life’s work so images have to be perfect. So it has a special place in my heart, as does Valentines of Dundee who entrusted this 21 year old with the task, and my first job for them. Just wish I had had digital all those years ago.

    1. David, do you not have the 35mm negatives? Film is such a beautiful medium and so much more detail can be extracted from the original negatives – than could be at the time. Is Valentines in Dundee still going? And this will make you laugh – I have only ever passed through Coventry – oops

      1. Scott you can probably guess how lucky I was. Just 21, given a brand new Red car, Camera kit worth in those days over £ 6000, a very heavy wooden tripod and sent on my way with an expense account. It was a big leap in faith for Valentines and my lucky break…. I still pinch myself as truthfully everything else has fallen into place like clockwork ever since, even though its been a road with many twist along the way.

  3. Rather heart wrenching to think of what it might look like now. Your images certainly capture the beauty that was.

    1. It was gut wrenching to watch – but I have every confidence it will rise as beautiful as before… Paris has so much to satisfy the traveller even without Notre Dame…

Comments are closed.