Wednesday, 23 November 2011

WABI SABI architecture

Wabi Sabi is more than just a way of looking at beauty, it is a state of mind.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

PHOTOGRAPHY: Momentum of a city.

"Indifference": photography by Marc T.

I made this picture on the beach in Tel Aviv on a Saturday morning, Photographing a not very elegant woman laying on the beach would not have make sense. I saw this  little child walking to the sea.  The composition of the picture became suddenly interesting. Two persons photographed without any connection to each other are photographed,  illustrating clearly a social reality in a society based on a total indifference. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Alice Cooper, photo: Marc T

Alice Cooper with python: photo Marc T.

Those two photographs from Alice Cooper were taken in Brussels during the POISON TOUR for the London  magazine New Musical Express in mid 1980s. The interview was done in London but Alice Cooper refused to be photographed during the interview. I had to fly the next day to Brussels to make those two photographs,.as usual the deadline was close and two days after the magazine had to be released. The work conditions in the Brussels venue were terrible and I had only 5 minutes to make the shot during the first song of the show. Security monkeys ( Neanderthal type of short haired motor bikers and or fatty muscle guys with zero IQ, often hired by the concert producers)   were well briefed and after exactly 5 minutes we had to leave the front stage area. The light was extremely bad and on half power. I went inside the crowd a couple of meters behind the front stage and made those photographs as fast as I could. Alice Cooper appeared from behind the stage with this huge python around his neck. Half an hour later after shooting, I was flying back to London with a hired private jet. Next day the pictures appeared in NME.. 
For those photographs I used two Nikon F3 bodies (at that time absolute new and most sophisticated  35mm camera) , one with 35 mm and the second one with 180 mm. Kodak TRI-X 400 pushed up until 1600.. Films were processed at the magazine's lab by my assistant and the prints made by myself at 3 o'clock in the morning..At five in the morning I speeded back to the airport, trying to persuade my girlfriend not  moving to New York...I was not at her birthday party...  I never saw her again and I never listened to Alice Cooper again.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

CULINARY EXTASES: The Truffle, a pleasure with a little mistrust.

From all the mushrooms, the truffle is the most exquisite, tasteful and rare ingredient in gastronomy. The truffle is food from the Gods, an absolute confirmation of someone's delicacy and good taste. The truffle is a culture on its own. 
A pleasure with a little mistrust is a playful description of an unique and particular culinary experience. 
Jean Anthelme Brillat Savarin (1755 - 1826) wrote the book The Physiology of Taste which made him famous at the end of his life, astonishing those who knew him only as a distinguished judge in the Paris Court of Appeal.. Born in Belley, in the South- East of France, he lived in violent and eventful times, his legal career being interrupted by the French Revolution - in which initially he participated, from which he later had to flee - and exile in America. On return he became an establishment figure, a keen instinct for self-preservation enabling him to survive numerous changes of regime. He was a man of many parts, landowner, one-time mayor, amateur doctor and scientist, violinist, keen hunter, admirer of beautiful women, and author of a handful of pornographic stories.
Physiology of Taste was first published in France in 1826 and never since out of print. The Physiology of taste is an historical, philosophical and epicurean collection of reflections and anecdotes on anything and everything gastronomical.
In this article we focused on the passage about the truffle, the black diamond of an particular gastronomical experience.
The recipe at the end of the article, is from the French top chef Alain Ducasse. It was in the early 1980's that I met Alain Ducasse for the first time. He realized this Winter Truffle Salad on a afternoon during a visit in his house in the Provence. We were having an aperitif when a local farmer brought a few truffles freshly harvest in the morning. 

 Jean Anthelme Brillat - Savarin  1755 - 1826

The first edition of the book.

Brillat - Savarin about the Truffle, excerpt from The Physiology of Taste VII Truffles.

43: Whosoever pronounces the word truffle gives voice to one which awakens erotic and gastronomical dreams equally in the sex that wears skirts and the one that sprouts a beard.
This most honest sharing of emotions springs from the fact that the renowned tuber is not only delicious to the taste, but is believed to rouse certain powers whose tests of strenght are accompanied by the deepest pleasure.
The beginning of the truffle are not known: it can be found, but none understands how it is born or how it develops. The cleverest men have devoted themselves to it: they have believed that the seeds were found, and that they could be sown at will. Useless efforts! Lying promises!.Never yet has such a planting been followed by a harvest, and this is perhaps not two unfortunate; for, since the price of truffles depends largely on public whim, perhaps they would be less highly valued if they were abundant and inexpensive.
"Good news, my dear friend !" I said one time to Madame de V...; ' we have just been presented in the Society for the Encouragement of Industry with a new method by which the most exquisite lace can be produced, and at practically no cost!" "Heavens!" that beautiful lady answered with a bored look. "If lace were cheap, do you suppose that I would bother to wear such ragged-looking stuff ? "

The Erotic Properties of Truffles.

44: The Romans had a kind of truffle; but it does not seem probable that the French variety got as far as their tables. The ones which were so highly prized by them came from Greece, from Africa, and above all from Lybia; their flesh was white or reddish, and the Lybian truffles were at once the most sought after and the most delicate and odorous.

Gustus elementa per omnia quaerunt. Juvenal

It is a long time from the Romans until now, and the renewal of a taste for truffles is fairly recent, for I have read several old pharmacy manuals where no mention of them was made: it could almost be said that the generations which lives and breathes at this moment of writing has witnessed that renaissance.
Truffles were rare in Paris as near ago as 1780; they could be found only at the Hotel des Americains and the Hotel de Provence, and then in but small amounts; and a truffled turkey was a luxurious item which could be seen only on the tables of the highest nobility or the best-paid whores.
We owe their increasing presence to the merchants of fine edibles, whose number also has increased greatly, and who, seeing that this certain article was in high favor, have bought it up all over the kingdom and who, paying high prices and ordering it to be shipped to Paris by messenger and by fast coach express, have caused a general widespread hunt for truffles (this last being necessary since, impossible as they are to cultivate, it is only by careful search that the supply of them can be added to).
It can be stated that at this moment the glory of  the truffle is at its peak. No man would assert that he had dined at a table where at least one truffled dish was wanting. The intrinsic excellence of an entree counts for nothing if it is not enriched with truffles. And who has not felt his mouth water at the mention of Truffes a la Provencale?
A saute of truffles is a plate which is concocted and served by the mistress of the house herself; in short. the truffle is the diamond of the art of cookery.
i have looked for a reason for this preference, for it has seemed to me that many other foods had an equal right to it, and I have found it in the general conviction that the truffle contributes to sexual pleasures; moreover, I have been led to conclude that the greatest part of our perfection, our predilection, and our admiration's spring from the same cause, in so powerful and general an homage do we hold this tyrannical,  capricious sense!
This discovery of mine led me on to wonder if the truffle's amorous effects were real, and the opinion of it based on facts. Such a research is doubtless shocking and could be snickered at by the sly; but evil be to him who thinks it! Any truth is good to know. First of all I talked with the ladies, because they posses both a clear eye and a delicate sense of tact; but it was soon plain to me that I should have begun this project some forty years earlier and I could draw out only ironical or evasive answers.
A single friend took me in good faith, and I shall let her speak for herself: she is a sensitive unaffected woman, virtuous without being smug, and for whom passion is by now no more than a memory.
"Monsieur," she said to me, "in the days when we still served early suppers, I once served one to my husband and a friend. Verseuil (which was the latter's name) was a good - looking fellow, far from dull, who often came to our house, but he had never said a word to me which might infer that he was my suitor: and if he flirted a little with me, it was in such a discreet way that only a fool could have misunderstood it. He seemed fated, that day, to keep me company, for my husband had a business appointment and soon left us. Our supper, although light enough, had however for its main dish a superb truffled fowl. The sub-delegate of Perigueux had sent it to us. In those days that was truly a treat: and, knowing its origin, you can imagine how near perfection it came. The truffles above all were delicious, and you know how much I love them; still, I restrained myself: and I drank but one glass of wine; I had a flash of feminine intuition that the evening would not come to an end without some sort of disturbance. Soon after supper my husband left, and I was alone with Verseuil, whom he looked upon as quite without menace to our manage. For a time the conversation flowed along without much excitement. then it seemed to become more restricted and more absorbing. Verseuil showed himself successively as flattering, expansive, affectionate, caressing, and finally realizing that I did no more than lightly turn aside his prettiest phrases, he became so insistent that I could no longer hide from myself what he hoped would result. I awoke, then, as from a dream, and repulsed him all the more easily since I felt no real attraction to him. He persisted with an activity which could have become really offensive; I was hard put to it to bring him his senses; and I admit to my shame that I succeeded in doing it only by pretending to him that there might still be some hope for him, another time.
Finally  he left me; I went to bed and slept like a babe. but the next morning was Judgement day for me; I thought over my behavior of the night before, and I found it infamous. i ought to have stopped Verseuil at his protestations and not have lent myself to a conversation which from the beginning promised ill. My pride ought to have awakened sooner, and my eyes should have frowned severely on him; I should have rung for help, cried out, become angry, done, in other words, everything that I did not do. What can I say to you "Monsieur"? I blame the whole thing on the truffles; I am truly convinced that they had given to me a dangerous inclination; and if I did not renounce them completely (which would have been too stern a punishment for me), at least I never eat them, now, that the pleasure they give me is not mixed with a little mistrust.

An easy to make recipe with hard to find truffles.
"Winter Black truffle Salad "(Truffes noires en salade d'hiver) from top and master chef Alain Ducasse

The french top chef Alain Ducasse in his kitchen

For the ingredients you need 120g of black truffles, 20 sliced shallots marinated in red wine vinegar, 4 slices country-style bread toasted on wood fire, a mix of lettuce composed by 30g morgeline lettuce + 20 g white purselaine (chicory, red hawk etc...+ 50 g small letuces + 30 g fine curley endive + 30 g large-leaved curly endive + 10 g aragula + 30 g lamb's lettuce + 10 g dandelion. A herb mix is composed by 5g chervil + 2g fresh mint + 3 g taragon + 3 g marjoram + 3 g green basil + 5g chives. The salad dressing is made with 2cl basic vinaigrette, a teaspoon of parmesan cheese and 20 g of minced truffles sprinkled with Fleur de sel.
A side dressing is composed with 4cl basic vinaigrette, 20 g mashed truffles and 1 cl of truffle oil.
To make a basic vinaigrette you need 20cl of olive oil, 10cl of reduced vegetable consomme, 10 cl balsamic vinegar, 10 cl red wine vinegar,  10 cl truffle juice and Fleur de sel. Parmesan cheese.

The black gold "Perigord truffle"
Making the salad:
Clean the truffles under cold  running water with a nailbrush. dry the truffles and peel with a fine bladeknife. (set the triming apart for another use. Keep always truffles in sealed jar in the fridge to avoid the dominant smell of truffles to affect your fridge content).
Stalk the morgeline lettuce, dandelion, aragula and porcelaine. Separate the curly endives and small lettuce and keep only the top of the leaves. Separate the lamb's lettuce leaves. Wash the letuces in a large amount of water keeping them separate and spin dry.
Separate the leaves of the chervil, fresh mint, tarragon, marjoram, green basil and chives. Keep only the top of the leaves. Wash the herbs in a large amount of water keeping them separate and spin.
Mix the herbs, lettuces, the Parmesan shavings and minced trufles. Season with 4 teaspoon of basic vinaigrette, fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper.
To finish and to plate the salad you have to mix all the vinaigrette ingredients. Put the lettuce and herb mis in the middle of a plate and shape a dome. Slices the truffles, dip the slices in the vinaigrette to season and cover the dome completely with the truffle slices.
Season the truffles slices with Fleur de Sel and freshly ground pepper, top with the marinated shallots and surround the dome with a ribbon of dressing, serve with a country bread toast.

Alain Ducasse cutting the black magic Perigord truffle

Sunday, 6 November 2011

PHOTOGRAPHY: Abstract Realities or The Photography of an Image. Marc T

For many years I.m exploring  the relation between  reality and what we see as a reality in imagery and photography.  Is reality a personal interpretation from an action?  What makes us believe what we see is reality?  A same picture will evoke different interpretations by different viewers, everyone will see his own reality. I'm not interested in pictorial and descriptive photography, I'm concerned about the image and the non-manipulation of the image. I work with a full automatic digital camera and do not process the pictures. I don't want to interfere in the imaging. The frame is an imposed limitation obliging me to compose into a given space. 
Abstract Realities is questioning the understanding of the imagery versus  photography. Photography by definition is a fixed fragment of life or from a situation, in other cases it is a constructed illusion like commonly used in commercial photography. We are used to see, and, to interpret a situation translated into a picture. Susan Sontag was also questioning the seeing in photography and the photographers reality versus the  "real' reality. A taken photograph is the photographers reality. The photographer than interprets a particular action or subject and translate into his own visual language.
What is a photograph or better what is a photographed image? The image is the result of a photographed item. The image is an interpretation of what we see and we do not always see reality. In some cases the abstraction of reality is already the item itself.
I discovered this when I was shooting a model through a glass wall.  A traditional photograph will show a women behind a glass wall, but I photographed the image created by a subject through a glass wall.
I'm interested in  photographing the image of the subject rather than the subject itself.. I photographed a   glass wall ,while the image seen on that glass wall is an interpretation of a reality behind the  glass wall.
In this case photography is joining the abstract painting,  reproducing the essential of the image. By erasing - the glass wall is erasing - all  perturbing details and  to reduce the  subject to its minimal, we  can read the obtained picture in a different way, whatever the reality is.  The image stands on itself and the subject becomes a medium and is not the purpose.

 Abstract Reality 1 photo; Marc T. Nov 2011

 Abstract Reality 2 photo: Marc T. Nov 2011

 Abstract Reality 3 photo: Marc. T Nov. 2011

 Abstract Reality 4 photo: Marc T. Nov 2011

 Abstract Reality 5 photo: Marc T. Nov 2011

 Abstract Reality 6 photo: Marc T. Nov 2011

 Abstract Reality 7 photo: Marc T. Nov 2011 

 Abstract Reality 8 photo: Marc T. Nov 2011

 Abstract Reality 9 photo: Marc T.Nov 2011

Abstract Reality 10 photo: Marc T. Nov 2011