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

About Me