Yearend 2015: A picture and its story

Updated: 2015-12-25 15:38


Yearend 2015: A picture and its story

An injured man is carried out of the Bataclan following fatal shootings in Paris, France, November 13, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]

Christian Hartmann: The weekend appeared calm. I had the evening off. Just before ten, the phone rang: in a grave voice my editor told me that a shooting had occurred at a cafe in eastern Paris and I should get there as quickly as possible. Around the same time, colleagues who were covering the France v Germany match heard explosions at the Stade de France. They turned their lenses away from the match and scanned the crowd to try and catch something. I took the bulletproof vest from my car - it had been there since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January - and got on my scooter. I stopped by the bureau to pick up a 400mm lens, certain that the security perimeter would be wide. En route I heard about another shooting incident.

When I arrived at the Bataclan, police warned journalists that we could be considered targets. They ordered us to take cover. The streets were silent. Security forces evacuated some victims, who were taken to safety. Special forces units started arriving on the scene in huge numbers. With two colleagues we decided to seek shelter. A young man let us into his apartment and we took up position at the windows. Just before midnight explosions were heard at the music hall. We could not see what was happening; no angle gave us a direct view to the entrance to the Bataclan.

Once the special forces operation finished, people covered in blood and wrapped in blankets came flooding out of the theatre. We descended from our window perches to photograph the victims. We tried to record the emotion that these instants provided. Some people, covered in blood, spoke to us. Their stories were chilling. The moments they lived will remain with them forever. They also mark the life of a photojournalist.