This was it… Bièvres has come to an end. It was a wonderful weekend and beyond, absolutely worth everything! Met some great people, some familiar ones and some new ones and just had a wonderful “may-your-hands-always-be-black” couple of days.
We left for Bièvres at 9:30 in the morning. We arrived at around quarter past 2 so the journey went very well. We stayed at Novotel Saclay which was pretty good, unfortunately the swimming pool was closed due to unknown-to-me reasons and you had to pay 4 euros an hour for WIFI. The hotel last year was twice as cheap and had free WIFI, it just didn’t have any food on site and getting that at a later time turned out to be quite a hassle back then hence the Novotel choice. Anyway, we ate a sandwich and left for the city Bièvres to take a look and meet up with Jeroen. We actually sat on the terrace all day until it was time to eat and we got up to go to a restaurant nearby 😉
Pretty lazy that was but very nice. The weather was extremely good, around 30 degrees celcius. The terrace is located at the famous round-about in Bièvres and we watched cars coming and going all day long; there were a LOT of cars for such a small place. People were also building up the fair so lots of activity. The restaurant we went to had us take seats on their terrace and the view from there was truly stunning..
During our dinner we met Peter Loy and his father who joined the restaurant and we met last year. I bought a leather Rolleiflex strap from him for my TLR. After dinner we went to the hotel, watched a movie on the lappie and prepared a bit for Saturday, the first official day of the fair.
We left for Bièvres at around 10 I believe. We met Alex on the terrace with Ben and another friend. So, good excuse for some coffee 😉 We saw Quinn walking of the fair with a massive lens so we knew he had gotten what he came for and finally we walked over to the booth of Quinn where we met Jean, Summer, John and his wife and Violet (their cutie baby girl), Garret and his wife and so on. We decided to meet later on the day again to talk a bit about Sunday and to eat some and left for the fair.
We came looking for a lens hood for my new Darlot which we found in the shape of a hard leather lens case. A bit of modification and it’ll work perfectly. I also looked for waterhouse stops but that’s nearly impossible to find so I’ll just have them made somewhere soon. And we also found a clamp to mount my recently acquired head brace from Geert-Jan on a tripod. Then we went for dinner…same restaurant as the evening before (not much choice in Bièvres really but it was fine).
After dinner we went to check on Quinn’s car in the heat to see how all was doing and he showed us his latest purchase which he intents to use for his next project, probably executed back in The States, working King Size! And for that you’ll need something competing in size of course…
After that we went back to the booth and the fair. Time flew by. We talked about at what time we would meet on Sunday to start building up the booths etc. and Jeroen, Geert-Jan and us arranged to meet for dinner later that night after having refreshed ourselves back at the hotel. That dinner was a stunning success. We decided on a restaurant some 12 kms away from where we were staying and glad we did so.
It’s worth mentioning separately, really. It’s situated in a small residential in the kind of middle of nowhere. Staff was really great and surprised four dutch people came to visit them as it’s so of the map. The interior was pretty “ancient” looking but that certainly added to the ambiance.
We chose from the Menu Tradition:
Petites Pièces de Canard (cou farci, magret seché, friton et grattons)
Saumon façon Sushi, rattes Tièdes, Mesclum*
Courgettes en Blanc-Manger et Confites, Tomates et Olives
Gigot de Canard mijoté Bolets et Girolles
Confit de Canard aux deux Pommes
Magret de Canard aux fruits Rouges
Cassoulet au Soissons Géants
Poisson suivant le Marché*
Chocolat Noir Weiss 63%, Feuilletage en Ganache
Ananas, Orange, Sorbet Citron, Biscuit Sablé
Sorbets, Turbinés au moment*
Pruneaux à l’Armagnac
The dishes with the little star behind was what I ate that evening. I like duck but didn’t feel like it, what I tried from Bart though was really good. Before the desert was served the waitress came to ask if we’d like some cheese in between. Good thing we said yes! Oh my, a big platter on wheels came along with some beautiful cheeses from which we could choose. The creme of Roquefort was even house made. Anyway, what a treat!! Then came the real desert which was fantastic as well. Afterwards some coffee; unfortunately all nights have to end and so did ours. We headed back “home” after having enjoyed a wonderful evening! If you happen to be around, go there; it’s worth a detour!
We got up at around 8, got ready and looked out the window…rain in massive amounts accompanied by thunder and lightning. Huhum…that looked scary. We left for Bièvres, got some breakfast and the rain miraculously stopped and the sky sort of cleared up a bit. The booth was already built up and we started helping Quinn with photographing. I “ran” back to the car at one time to pick up my photos for display and helped further at the boot. At around 3 Quinn ended his session and we got ready to take over. Vincent, Geert-Jan and I made the rest of the photos and Bart did all the varnishing.
Some cool people I took photos of; a really great way to come in contact with new people and share the love for this process. Two of them were working for Photo, a large French magazine on photography who covered Quinn with his exhibition in Paris and had a stand a little further than ours. One man wanted his two young daughters photographed and he turned out to have a huge collection of collodion photography so knowing the process he wanted to have one of his beautiful girls. And I took a photo on request of the person who displayed his work across from our booth. His name is Christophe Hesters and makes wonderful street photography with his Leica MP mostly using Kodak Tri-X.
I actually had planned to bring all my stuff. I took all the things I have for making plates including chemicals to Bièvres but already 2 more people besides Quinn brought their stuff. I thought it would be overkill if I would bring my things Sunday to the booth, would’ve had to stash them somewhere and so on. I worked with Geert-Jan’s wonderful dark box which was great. It really was a handy thing to be working in. I also used Vincent’s camera once which was a cute little Shen Hao camera:
Vincent made a quarter plate insert for it and it worked really great. Very small and pretty weird when used to 18 x 24 😉 But slick camera, great focusing (as far as I could tell without my glasses…) and just very small, especially when folded.
Bart found the time somewhere to take my small Steinheil to the fair and find a flange for it. Quite special as matching ones are pretty rare. There’s supposed to be an original one on Ebay so have to check on that… Luckily the weather remained dry that day but the sun was constantly coming and going which made it utter hell determining exposure time. Most of the plates succeeded, some we had to redo, but that was a challenge on its very own.
The person mentioned below, Matthias Olmeta, came to show his work and to look around. What fantastic work! Large plates using clear plexi-glass to shoot the images on, then varnish them and then paint it black over the varnish. You then look at the image through the plexi-glass plate which also keeps you from seeing it mirror-inverted like normally. He also worked on projects contacting negatives on paper, but then lots of them on the same large sheet, and then developing the large sheet as a whole. Really cool stuff!
I also met Bruno Dubroqua, someone I already “knew” via Facebook, and without knowing until he recognized me, met for the first time in Bièvres.
I still keep thinking I forgot to mention people and things that happened…will add them later I guess. So much happened that long weekend it’s impossible to recollect these memories at once. And seeing my memory is not thàt good… 😉
At around seven in the evening we were done, cleaned up and went to the hotel, absolutely exhausted. We decided to eat some at the hotel, which was pretty okay, and rolled of to bed. I believe we fell asleep at around 10:30. Quite unique that early.
Well, that was it really. Packed our things and headed back home, still tired and actually still am now. Here are some photos from the “leaving of Paris Area”: