Paris Attacks Anniversary Lone Body
A victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris. Nov. 13, 2015.Jerome Delay—AP
Paris Attacks Anniversary Lone Body
Paris Attacks Anniversary Lone Body
Paris Attacks Anniversary Lone Body
Paris Attacks Anniversary Lone Body
Paris Attacks Anniversary Lone Body
Paris Attacks Anniversary Lone Body
Paris Attacks Anniversary Lone Body
A victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris. Nov. 13, 2015.
Jerome Delay—AP
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Paris, One Year Later: A Photographer Revisits the Scene of the Attacks

Nov 10, 2016

Barely anything has changed in a year. The same white floating angel – a sticker on an adjacent door – continues to guard the scene where, on Nov. 13, 2015, the lifeless body of a victim of the Paris attacks rested under a sheet, undisturbed, almost as if forgotten.

That's how Jerome Delay, an Associated Press photographer, defined the scene when he took one of the most heart-wrenching photographs of that night's events. "It felt like I wasn't supposed to be here; that I wasn't supposed to see it," he told TIME then. The identity of the lone body, illuminated by the soft light of a street lamp, was never revealed. The image became, for many, a symbol of that night's tragic events, when 130 people were killed in six coordinated attacks.

As the first anniversary of the attacks approached, Delay revisited the scene. "It felt weird to go back and find it the way it was, as if nothing had been touched," he says. "What caught my attention was this sticker on one of the poles on the left. It was still there. Parts of the police cordons, which were put up after I took the initial photo, are still there as well. It's as if this place became sacred. As if people didn't dare touch the place."

And yet, life continues.

"For the people in these photographs, this place is nothing more than a street," he says. "They don't realize what happened there." Delay felt the urged to stop them to tell them but, "like that night, I didn't want to speak to anyone. When you return to the place, you start thinking again about that night. You start reliving the events of that night."

A victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015.
A victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015. Well over 100 people were killed in a series of shooting and explosions explosions. French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and announced that he was closing the country's borders.Jerome Delay—AP
A victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015.
France Paris Shootings
A man looks out the bullet ridden windows of the Carillon cafe in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
Dried blood on the window of the Carillon cafe in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
A woman is comforted by others outside the Carillon cafe and the Petit Cambodge restaurant in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
Bloodstained footsteps are visible on the street linking the Carillon cafe and the Petit Cambodge restaurant in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
People line up to give blood at the St Louis hospital across the street from the Petit Cambodge restaurant in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
France Paris Attacks
A police officer patrols outside the Carillon cafe and the Petit Cambodge restaurant in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
A woman carrying flowers cries in front of the Carillon cafe and the Petit Cambodge restaurant in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
People react in front of the Carillon cafe and the Petit Cambodge restaurant in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
A man places a candle in front of the Carillon cafe in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
France Paris Attacks
People react in front of the Carillon cafe and the Petit Cambodge restaurant in Paris on Nov. 14, 2015.
A victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015. Well over 100 people were kil
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Jerome Delay—AP
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That night, when Delay learned of the attacks, he didn't want to go out and photograph the aftermath. "My boss told me to go," he says. "Looking back, the fact that I didn't want to go was maybe a mechanism to protect myself, a sort of way to refute reality. For these pictures, a year later, it felt the same. I was a little bit uncomfortable at first, but in the end, it worked out. I think these photos are, in a strange way, poetic."

Jerome Delay is the Associated Press' chief photographer for Africa.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

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