Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coast to Côte Week 3

Week 3 - new and improved with commentary!

Pang: This photograph was taken at the famous Katz Delicatessen in the lower East Side of Manhattan. Going up to New York City last week, our friends took us there for a late dinner and promised some really scrumptious food. Upon entering, I noticed the salamis hanging from the ceiling in the front window. Right away, I knew I wanted a picture and it was perfect that J was standing right in front of all of them hanging in rows. I really liked how the neon sign is in the heart of the photograph illuminating the shot as well. When Lacey sent me her photograph, I knew I wanted to use this picture so as to tie the two shots together; the hanging pods from her shot and the salamis in mine. It's funny how side by side, they almost look the same.

Me: I took this picture on the first warm day we have had since the cold of winter descended on Limoges. I was out walking along La Vienne with practically all the rest of Limoges (at least all the over 50s for sure) when I came upon these unfamiliar pods hanging from a tree on the bank. I spent most of the afternoon photographing the vegetation along the river which in general was sparse but almost budding in some cases. This particular shot I liked most for its composition and also for its cold drab winter tones but I liked that in the right corner where the sun is just peaking into the frame, a slightly warmer tone enters the equation. The optimist in me could consider it a future promise of spring.

Check in next week!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January Flea Market - Creepy Doll of the Month

Somehow I never got around to posting flea market pictures this month! The ground was freshly powdered and iced on this particular day, which made for a sad turnout both in prospective junk buyers and in vendors. Regardless I bundled up and went out for my churro and browsing.

Far fewer creepy babydolls this time - but there is always at least one!

I wanted this brooch like you can't imagine. Pretty much anything with a face on it I'm bound to love. Old man face? Even better.

My self portrait for the day.

Some friends dropped by.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Coast to Côte Week 2

Week two of the collaboration and we have a name for our project and a banner! We bumped some names back and forth but finally decided on this nice mix of English and French.

Just thinking of it now but it might be more interesting if we talk about the pictures a tad bit rather than just post it with no comment? I can't speak for Pang's picture but my picture this week was inspired by all the rain we got. All week as I was walking around at night seeing the way the orange lights bounced off the road I wanted to take a picture. This particular night I was jogging at the school and each lap I would stare at the puddles and how the light changed as I moved around them. So after my run I hopped back into jeans and decided to get my toes wet. I thought it would be an interesting contrast between the cold dark colors of the pavement and water and the warm colors from the lights. Let me tell you - those lights didn't lend any warmth at all to that water. This was a very short photoshoot as I wanted to keep all my toes :)
Week 2 down! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Collaboration is Born

Im a little late posting this since Pang posted on her blog on Wednesday but I wanted to announce a new project Im working on. Its a collaboration with my dearest Pee Pang. We are taking one picture a week (alternating between horizontal and vertical) and then putting them together to see what kind of results we get, what kind of unintentional relationships can be drawn between them, or what kind of story we can create. Eventually we might move to planned themes but for right now we are working themelessly.
Check back once a week to see what we come up with!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

First Video - Clips from France

This is a short video of clips I have been taking here and there since getting to France - still kinda learning how video works. I put it to the song Mimizan by Beirut. Hope you like it. My "artistic" video will have to wait for warmer weather - I need that nice afternoon light that we no longer get now that it's winter.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gallette du Rois

On the third of January the Epiphany was celebrated in France, at least in theory, I don't know anyone personally that celebrated it. I don't know much about the biblical aspects of this holiday (perhaps Tess can fill me in) but I believe the Epiphany is the celebration of the feast of kings, which marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas, which is when the 3 wisemen got finally got to Bethlaham to see Jesus?
In any case, its a feast that is celebrated on the first Sunday of January which follows a Saturday. My interest in it, as usual, is the baked good that accompanies this religious holiday.
The Gallette du Roi is a round flat pastry filled with frangipane, an almond cream paste. It can also be made with fruit or conserves. Inside the cake is a fève (which translates to bean, which is what used to be put in the cakes.) These days the fève is a tiny figure, and if you are oh so lucky enough to be living in Limoges, it will usually be a porcelain figure.

The cake is cut into equal parts based on the number of people present and each person takes a slice. Originally the cake was cut into as many slices as people plus one. This extra slice was called the "share of the poor" and was meant to be given to the first poor person who came to your home.
Whichever way you do it, whoever is lucky enough to discover the figure or trinket (as it doesn't have to be a figure) in their slice then has the pleasure of being king for the day and claims the crown that comes along with the cake. We tried this at the Christmas party and we learned quite quickly that the fewer people you have playing the more exciting the game. We had to cut our cake into so many pieces that the poor king was sticking out of someones piece, shamefully exposed, before we had even had a chance to start munching.

What I don't quite get about this tradition is the fact that the winner - the king for the day, is supposed to "offer" the next cake. How is it winning if I have to buy the next one?

Poor little guy is still covered in holiday.

Happy New Years Everyone!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

On Being Cold, Radiators that Ignore Me, and Children Who Draw Genitals

The cold. How cold? I couldn't tell you. When I check the weather reports or walk by the pharmacy with the handy little temperature display I see numbers like 2 or -4. Alright sure, I think to myself - that's pretty much what it feels like. Oddly enough, my coworkers, who spent all of October and November whining about how cold it was, have stopped mentioning the chill.
I haven't got a car and I haven't got the patience to wait for buses. So I walk. Here is my dressing routine before I go out:

- 2 pairs of knee high socks (put on before the jeans because there is just no way
those jeans will be pushed or rolled any higher than my lower calf)
- a long sleeve shirt
- a scarf wrapped twice
- elbow length fingerless gloves
- a zip-up hoodie - zipped so my scarf is inside and doesn't have the possibility to
be windblown ever, and my elbow-length gloves are snug at my elbow. PS Im pretty
sure Im the only girl who wears zip up hoodies. So American.
- jaunty red hat. More than once I have been called little red riding hood (petite
chapeau rouge) by strangers.
- mittens that go over my finger-less gloves but under the sleeve of my hoodie.
- My trench coat - buttoned uncomfortably all the way up to my chin.

I tell myself I am ready - loaded down with Earth bags to go to the grocery store or books to go to the library. As soon as I walk out my nose is immediately assaulted. That's my indication that it is really really cold. Back in November when the French would tell me how cold it was and ask how I could stand to wear t-shirts I was always confused. But I can still feel me nose! How can it be cold if I can still feel my nose? No doubts now.
My toes are next to go and within minutes they are useless lumps in my shoes. Evil heart, I think to myself, if you were just a tiny bit stronger or just a tiny bit more courageous, perhaps you could see fit to pump a bit of blood down there and properly circulate my extremities rather than sacrifice them within the first 5 minutes.

And unfortunately the cold cannot always be escaped. Upon returning to my little bedroom from my trip to the States, I found my bed cold and unwelcoming. The radiator sat in the corner, ignoring me. No heat to give me tonight, little radiator? Nor the next day unfortunately. It wasn't until mid-day Monday that the sweet sound of hot running water creaking through the pipes could be heard. I slept with my hat and gloves on for two nights. I have never truly had bed-head until now.
In comparison to my bedroom - the classrooms are saunas. Saunas that bake the children until they are sweaty, smelly little balls of excitement.

The only redeeming quality that the cold has to offer me is that it has been snowing on a very regular basis. Huge, ogre-sized globs of snow. Yesterday it snowed in the morning. During my classes as my children sat quietly writing (wait quietly? yes!) I gazed out the window at the lovely snow. Lovely until my gaze fell upon the playground pavement. My lovely quiet little children had celebrated the falling snow by drawing giant genitals and writing the words RAT MAN all over the freshly blanketed ground. Nothing seems to delight little boys (well perhaps boys in general) more than drawing wieners. I would have delighted you with a picture but by the time my classes were finished the snow had either melted away or some scandalized adult had destroyed all traces.

If you have made it this far in the post - thanks for reading. I didn't have a picture to post and frankly I feel I have been letting my pictures do most of the narrating, and while they probably do that just fine, I enjoy writing as well. In other news, Pang and I will be starting a new tandem photo project so look for that next week, I also promise to post a video of clips I have taken while in France. Not the piece I am most excited about but still something I have been working on for a little bit.

Stay warm.