Photographer William Daniels, like many of his peers in Paris, was dining out when he first heard of the terror attacks that killed at least 129 people on Nov. 13. But, unlike most of his colleagues, Daniels didn’t grab his camera to cover the attacks’ aftermath.
“I wondered whether I should go and work, but I guess because these attacks happened so close to me, my neighborhood, my friends, my Parisian life, I didn’t go,” says the photographer, who lives down the street from the Bataclan concert hall, one of the terrorists’ targets. “And probably because I was scared too.”
The next day, however, as a continuous stream of people gathered on Republique Square in the center of Paris, Daniels started photographing. “Regardless of the fear, people kept coming,” he says. “That first night, I spent only one hour on the square, I couldn’t do more. Some say a photographer works better when he feels touched by the story. It is true until a certain point.” But in the following days, Daniels felt he had to go back. “I started to photograph people’s faces, all were extremely expressive, some crying, some staring with their gaze lost, some embracing each other in search of consolation from their partner,” he described. “All silent.”
Alice Gabriner, who edited this photo essay, is TIME’s International Photo Editor.