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Jeffrey Byrnes Photographer Fashion + Portraits + Travel

Notre Dame Cathedral

It is a story that has spread around the world, “flames engulf Notre Dame in Paris.” Holy shit, I said out loud when I saw a Facebook live video of the cathedral. I was in disbelief. Stunned. I am near speechless as I turned CNN on and watched the news. One can not understand the gravity and severity of this massive loss. I grew going to a Catholic Church and was an alter boy for a short period of time. When I landed in art school and began to learn about art, religion, and architecture, I took on a new appreciation for such monuments. As I progressed through my art history courses, Paris and Notre Dame were always a discussed focal point during those periods of time covered in the classes. I wanted to see Notre Dame. I wanted to visit Paris.

It was a cool afternoon. It was late August and the temperature was lower than normal. We had a day of grey over cast skies and periods of mist to light rain. When we crossed a bridge filled with locks and made our way to Notre Dame, we were greeted by hundreds of people. I couldn’t help but stand in awe of what was greeting me, a beautiful cathedral, a massive structure that took 200 years to complete, and had impossible to comprehend details. Every detail that I could absorb, I did. I moved my lens across the exterior of the building and eventually on the inside once we passed the doors. Notre Dame Cathedral had more details than any one building I think I had ever visited before, until the Vatican 8 days after visiting Notre Dame. I can not remember the smells from inside, as I do recall there was something that stood out to me, but what I can remember is the light. Low light, candles illuminating pockets of the cathedral, and of course, the focal point, the glass windows. There were so many beautiful moments happening. People. Hundreds of us in amazement of the structure we were standing in. People using phones, cameras, and their eyes to sneak images. We moved through, a bit quicker than I would have liked, but what we saw, what I photographed, rendered impressions in me that I will never forget. I am saddened as we witness something so significant, so beautiful, so dear to so many burn.

Here are a few images I made of Notre Dame Cathedral when we visited.