Today the iPhone and similar personal electronic devices allow everyday people to take high-quality video and photos in an instant. Yet two key videos that have emerged from the November 13, 2015 Paris terror events were shot by established professionals–one of whom travelled from Russia on the morning November 13 to be quartered in unusually close proximity to the rear exit of the Bataclan Theatre, where he or his his neighbor, a professional journalist, captured footage of shooting victims and survivors being dragged from the building and hanging from the facility’s upstairs windows.
Russian photographer Victor Boyko is a well-connected and established professional photographer, as his portfolio suggests. His clients include some of the world’s foremost entertainment and pop culture luminaries, including film director David Lynch, fashion designer Ralph Lauren, rock musician Lenny Kravitz, and singer/model/actress Paris Hilton.
Mr. Boyko arrived at Charles De Gaulle airport in the early morning hours of February 13, as this Facebook post reveals.
That morning Boyko proceeded to a rented flat ideally positioned at the rear of the Bataclan Theatre, as noted in this Facebook post taken at mid-day on November 14. Perhaps coincidentally Daniel Psenny, a journalist working for Le Monde, was in the room next door where he claimed to film horrified Bataclan concert goers exiting the facility.
Here is a rough translation of excerpts from the text accompanying the above photograph posted by Boyko on Facebook:
I went home and went through hell.
As I left the Republique plaza it became obvious that something wasn’t right. Too many sirens, and for some reason there was a bunch of firemen. I then understood that the firemen were simply reacting to something else. There were lots of police at the restaurant on the corner of the Boulevard Voltaire and they literally pushed people inside the cafe and the waiter shut door and locked it. In the street on the other side of the avenue.
[Boyko then discusses visiting a tavern owned by “Niko,” who invited him in to have a drink despite the circumstances.] Here we heard about people having been shot, both about bataklane and about small Cambodian restaurant at 20 rue Alibert. In October I rented an apartment on 10 rue Alibert and ordered take out food from there.
Shortly thereafter the pedestrians ran to the other side of avenue together with the policemen with the panels. Niko winked to me and reached from the pocket of coat the bottle of beer. After 15 minutes all hell broke loose. Ten or more people appeared on stretchers and others were being carried by hand and loaded into ambulances. President Hollande arrived and the woman-mayor of Paris … The police stopped with automatic weapons, roughly searching those present. A group of survivors from the Bataclan sat in the fence, many of them lacked clothing and shook in the cold.
I arrived back early this morning, the door of my flat opposite the rear entrance of the Bataclan [my back door out of the Bataclan], where they ran away. I opened the door and there was blood all over the place. The lever to the elevator was covered in blood…
Here Boyko refers to Le Monde‘s Psenny, but oddly fails to point out that Psenny is also a journalist at Le Monde, who remarkably produces the same photos and videos attributed to Boyko (below) from almost the same vantage point outside the Bataclan.
I went up in the elevator to my floor, and there is no neighbor. The door was wide open… he saw people running out of the club from the window and went to help injured. He fell under the some of those exiting the theatre and they shot him through hand. He’s now in hospital and had to have surgery. Even today, the street is covered in blood.
Psenny is also noted in the end credits of a short video produced by the New York Times that includes voice overs of Bataclan Theatre shooting survivors.
In fact, the New York Times credits this video footage to Psenny and Boyko, with similar reports suggesting that Psenny captured the video from his apartment. Yet the video was clearly taken very close to if not from the identical vantage point that Boyko maintains are his quarters. (There are only two unedited shots in the Times video–one inside the Bataclan as the terrorists begin shooting and one of the rear entrance scene–comprising the footage.)
Did Boyko in fact take the video and allow Psenny and Le Monde to appropriate it? After all, this is what professional photographers are commissioned to do. If so, he doesn’t say as much. One may safely conclude that Boyko could not have been Psenny’s guest because he refers to Psenny as his neighbor in the above account. Indeed, their positioning at the scene is highly unusual, yet clearly acknowledged in the end credits to the New York Times short above.
Again, here are frames from the photos attributed to Psenny:
And here are the photos from Boyko’s Instagram page:
Along the lines of Boyko’s Facebook post, Psenny relates to the UK Telegraph. a somewhat sensational account of rescuing an American who cryptically goes by the name of “Matthew” from the Bataclan shooting scene. “Monsieur Psenny,” the Telegraph notes, “who had been in his apartment filming panic stricken concert goers rushing from the scene–including a pregnant woman hanging form [sic] an upstairs window–managed to drag [Matthew] to safety but was himself shot by one of the gunmen.”
Here is Psenny recovering from the injury and recounting his ordeal.
Indeed, this was “Matthew’s” second “narrow escape from a terrorist strike,” according to the Telegraph account. “He was at the foot of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 heading to a work meeting when a United Airlines plan struck one of the towers.”
Further, the sole video to emerge out of an audience of 1,500 that coincidentally captured the initial stages of the terrorist attack was shot by professional graphic designer and illustrator “Seb Snow,” according to the New York Times (above).
In conclusion, almost everyone today–including Parisians–are equipped with cell phones that have substantial video and photographic capacities. Why then are the only videos taken of one of the most significant terrorist events in recent history produced by professionals who are strategically positioned at the crime scene in advance?