Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cream of Man Ray

This is a poster I designed for our first group show way back in jan.
I never really had it on my threads as I didnt want to confuse people.
I now think it was a shame as it was a great portrate of Martine..
Here's the burb from the exhibition thread:

After several months of great images posted, we thought it would be a nice idea to pull a few of those historic postings into one big group show.
All the admins have chosen, some of them were even wisely chosen!
Some of us like dancing veg, others are into classic Dada..what can I say, its an organic thing!
One thing that units us all is our expert surreal vision, we view each entry with our green shades firmly fixed to our noses, as the above picture shows! o_O

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Little Prince's flower

“At night I want you to put me under a glass globe”
The little Prince said “I ought not to have listened to her,”
he confided to me one day.
“One never ought to listen to the flowers,
one should simply look at them and breath their fragrance.
Mine perfumed all my planet.
But I did not know how to take pleasure in all her grace.."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Extract from: The Little Prince
Created for the Man Ray contest.

The Eiffel Tower

Thanks to everbody that left nice comments, thanks also to Chris in Philly,
'A Colossus' was just the word I was looking for,
I will use it in the blog, Thanks!

Viewed nearly 3000 times, up to the top 3 in interestingness!
It has to be my most popular image to date in Flickr...

I do hope the name of Algeria isnt taken in an anti-French way, It just happend to be on the retro globe below Europe! o_O

Chris in Philly said:
'The Tower as a colossus. It's also cool how you did the sky then the stratosphere and the top of the tower goes off into space! Great stuff.'

The Walrus and the Carpenter

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
such quantities of sand:
'If this were only cleared away',
They said, 'it would be grand !'

'If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for a year,
Do you suppose', the Walrus said,
'That they could get it clear?'
'I doubt it,' said the carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear,

Extract from 'Through the looking Glass' by Lewis Carroll
(thats a cicada on the Carpenters nose - not my doing!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mannequin Lighthouse..

Winner of the Surreal Phare Design Competition ~ Sadly now forgotten..

Yes its French, it ended up on a French Beach in the the Languedoc-Roussillon area,
the Government lost its nerve at the last moment and tried to hide it in the most remote (in those days) part of France..

These days its quite a headache for the local council, they are sick of cleaning the linen covering and washing off the grafiti..
Thanks for your raves!

I lost this image in my computer for nearly two days, I had a glitch.
Thankfully I found it and finished it just in time for the close of the Man Ray came 2nd.

I thought the addition of the clothes line, gave it a touch of the 'real life'. Strange, but they now look like gappy teeth! O_O

twas brillig says:
Great idea Paul! My mother used to be a fashion designer and we had something like this in our garage for fitting clothes. As a result I used to have nightmares as a child as my mother would be missing arms and legs and her head. lol

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tempest Gull.

We've had loads of thundery weather over the past few weeks, must have given me the idea for this 'stew in the sky' as said by someone on flickr.
"Quite a potboiler", I replied!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Astonishing meetings!

you never know who or what you'll bump into
on your beach walks!

Thats the Spanish coastline on the horizon, just an hours drive from us here in the south of France.
However, we dont need to go to such great lengths to find strange new sights!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Henkel's new clock had so much kick..

he was booted out of the inventors club..

Redo for Flickr's Das Kabinett.

I made this image ages ago, I was in my Bauhaus period, and was asked to put it up into the new
'German expressionist group', 'Das Kabinett'.
Kind peeps have said:

"Love the disoriented eyeball, as if the earth's magnetic pull is only working on that part of his body! these portraits, with the obligitory 3/4 ness and tilted head are so ripe for reconfabulation. this makes my day".

"he should definitely appeal the ouster - lies and innuendo, I say!
love the roving eye too (I agree with pinkyhonor, it has to do with gravity or magnetic poles)"

I do believe Henkel is working on other things these days.. to be continued!

Almond moon

This one was a huge success on my Flickr site.
I had several people asking if it was real, well the parts are real but let's says they were 'moved around! Here's what I said:

Thank You's!
Yes, its real, when I took it I thought about the moon and made sure it was in a good spot.
I took the picture and enhanced it in ps.

The blossom really did seem to glow in the setting sun..
Only the stars are added!
Some kind soul said:

"wow! I love it -- looks like the moon has dropped all those petals. what a beautiful, artistic piece".

The setting is on a hill just outside our French village, I really wanted to capture the feeling of Spring this year, as I shall be back in the city in a few months after we sell this house. I've been here several years and really need a change..
I'll miss being able to just walk into the countryside whenever I like...


Having sat for several thousand years, the colossi no longer cry at dawn..
So how do you bring your holiday snaps to life?
Put them in CS2 and add a little magic..
I reprint some things said about this image from my Flickr site:

This image really speaks to me of the heights that mankind is capable of reaching, yet at the same time how we are just specks on the grand scale of space and time..

This works really well, time has jelled around eternity.

If only we could all carry our scars and history with such presence, beauty and gravitas.... Wonderful use of light and dark. Wonderful use of photography!

Imaginary Garden Labyrinth at nightfall

Ian said: "Intriguing and menacing- there is an ominous atmosphere here. The texture of crumpled paper and the tones of sculpted granite hide some sinister secret. Don't go into this labyrinth without a ball of string"!
I said:
"Yeh, because i'll be behind with a pair of big sharp sissors cutting that string into bits!
Did you ever read MR JAMES short story about a Labyrinth?

Daisy #2. She really wanted Edelweiss but I thought it too risky.

Well, you didn't think I would leave my poor little sis like That, did you?

We were afraid the occupying forces might think she was somehow trying to contact the allies with the sewing ring acting as a crazy kind of portable radio transmitter and reciever!

So, I managed to sew on some lovely petals from my mothers silk flower collection, they were light and easy to wear.

She really wanted me to try for the then fashionable 'edelweiss look' after fond memories of our Matterhorn hyke, but I thought it might send out the wrong signal
in these troubled times, you know, a risky 'Swiss Neutral stance'?

The Daisy effect was really popular, we found her loads of work doing the Christmas Panto season. She really loved the stage and so, after the plastic surgery to remove the soiled petals and correct my poor stitchwork, she became a huge Hollywood star. I think, in my small way, I helped her find herself..
Besides, 'edelweiss' would never have worked as a stage name...

We would get So bored

We would get So bored waiting for the new World War to begin, television was just coming out, but only the rich could afford it. And then only in London, we lived in France...
My sister, bless her, was game for anything to fill those endless rainy days whilst my mother and father were outside digging the Maginot Line for the government.
We were left to our own devices, my sister would allow me to stretch her face on her sewing circle.
Naturally, I later became a plastic surgeon and was able to put her face back, but she'd never be quite the same. I don't know, perhaps we all just went too far..

Pantheon of Starfish

After seeing some old Man Ray films, I decided I had to work with those starfish guys!

Trouble was, no starfish were available to photograph..What to do..?
So, I fished through my old prints and found these guys in a 1980's photograph of mine.
I scanned them and superimposed them onto a ledge from a photograph of Rome's Pantheon dome. Taken whilst on my first vacation to Italy.
The light shining down from the vent hole worked a treat, spotlighting the Starfishes dance. Pure sepia, surreality!
I threw in a few layers into the background to add depth and textural atmosphere..
Then finished editing in photoshop, creating this
Sepia toned and slightly out of focus effect.
It was a star-lit-hit!

Browns Midnight dip became a nightmare..

Brown's midnight dip became a nightmare..
Thankfully a passing clump of lillies saved him from becoming fish food..

This was the winning entry in the Man Ray group contest, on Flickr last week!

I'd been wanting to do a an underwater image for a long time, its the holy grail of Photoshop users, how to make water look natural and interact with an alien object.

This finished work is far from perfect, I wont bore you, dear reader, with the fine points.
But it is a 'surreal' picture, and hey, it won first place!

Kathy Kite

From Now on I shall use this Blog to display my latest surreal images

Thank You all for taking the trouble to comment, thought I should say a few words about how this came about.

Firstly, 'The Tree Man' by Hieronymus Bosch must have been at the back of my mind and another line drawing print by Hogarth about impossible 'paradoxical' perspectives.

Then on the romantic side with the french lighthouse, the image of "Kathy Kite" remembereing holidays in france, this comes from the French movie,
'Diva' With its cool Zen music and dream scenes of flight.

The tree top view is from my bedroom window which faces the sea,
I can't quite see it though!
The little girl was from a french antique snapshot, in which she was originally, fishing!
There are six differing layers, plus copies of layers.

The Text with this image is:
Katherine's Past is foreign country..they do things differently there.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Paul Grand: ghost in the shell

Paul Grand: ghost in the shell

ghost in the shell

The local limestone around this area is chock-o-block full with fossils,
I've just started a new flicker group called ghost in the shell so its brought these fossils into focus and opened up a whole new subject for me to photograph.

My aim is not another boring collections group but a back to basics, organic, timeless surreal group. I want our objects to be beautifully lit and photographed in such a way as to convey an atmosphere, such as the atmosphere of the of awe of discovery, an Indiana Jones type revelatory moment when the object is bathed in golden light!

I've already found out through the net that my area is famous for Dinosaur eggs, there is a whole field full of them, closed to the public because its so important. Then yesterday I found this Swiss boys site, Click on the French title to get his local photos about this site open for just one weekend a year where you can dig up things like trilobites!
Its between Roquebrun and Cessenon.

On the little hill above our village floodpans, the grounds around the vines are littered with Oyster shell fossils, too common to be of value, but where there is one type There are more!
Its also where I found the Limestone rocks with the small fossil shell voids in the dry stone walls.
I've also seen locals selling fossils in our village Brocant market, One Dutch man said;
"Nobody is interested around here..."

I have heard that this area is very important geologically, the rock formations are rare.
I read there were massive upheavals in the rocks which caused internal voids where the local famous red marble formed.

By the way, our house frontage is made of huge local, dressed Limestone blocks, Completely Full of Shell fossils!
Photo's above show local dry stone wall with olive grove and vines where the fossils came from.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Happy New Year!

Just as I lived in London for nearly 20 years and never visited St. Paul's, I've now lived in France for several years and never tasted a fresh Truffle!

Last night we finally ate half of a truffle Martine brought back with her from her fathers famous truffle selling village in northern Provence.

He'd given it to her as a Christmas present, but because we both have terrible head colds we waited before eating it as I didn't want to risk missing the full taste of the fabulously expensive, French, black diamond!

Truffles grow in several areas in France, firstly our truffle comes from The Drome area, then there are Perigord, Charente and Angouleme, also our area in the Herault, the Tarn, the Vaucluse, Lozere and the Jura.

The high season for selling and buying Truffles is in January and february, normally in little back street village markets from open car boots. Taking photographs of these markets isn't really recommended as the sellers tend not to like being seen selling such high priced, and normally, black market goods!

I did manage to take some pictures a couple of years ago and if I find them will post here.

Getting back to our Truffle, we served it on fresh pasta with salted butter, creme fresh and parmesan cheese, the truffle was cut into fine slices and mixed into the completed sauce as any cooking seriously impairs the subtle flavor.

As for the taste, how do you describe the taste of heaven?
It was a wonderfully light dish and a real novelty for us to eat.
It had a taste all of its own, it didn't taste at all like a mushroom, which was a surprise!
I would say it had a creamy, buttery, chocolate/malt taste with a faint savory after scent of slightly sulfurous gas!

Oh, and by the way, its rubbish for curing head colds! We both continued to suffer the next morning!

Top Picture by Martine Roch
2nd two pictures by me at a truffle Market, Drome, North Provence, France

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