Jon Lowenstein is no stranger to crime scenes. As an award-winning photojournalist, South Shore resident, and dedicated South Side documentarian, Lowenstein has snapped thousands of images that capture the chaos, disorder, and heartbreak that haunt communities in the wake of violence.
It was by happenstance that Lowenstein—who was attending Paris Photo— found himself in Paris on Friday, November 13, when ISIS terrorists killed 129 people at six sites. “I had only been to Paris for one day my entire life before I came this week,” says Lowenstein, who extended his stay an extra week after the events unfolded. “I was on a boat for a Paris Photo book party when I found out. I didn’t cover much that night because I didn’t know where to go, but I began covering the aftermath the next morning. It was just surreal.”
Lowenstein spent the next five days walking the streets of Paris taking photos of the memorials, mourners, and the crime scenes. The stirring photos are reminiscent of the South Side crime scene images by Lowenstein that this magazine ran in the 2013 feature “In the Shadow of the Gun.” “What I’ve been taken aback by is the emotion shown here,” says Lowenstein. “In Chicago, people in dominant, wealthy communities are used to the violence being somewhere else. But in Paris, the violence happened at the center. It feels like a bubble has been burst.”
Here, eight of Lowenstein’s Paris images and the stories behind them.