Deyrolle: Up from the ashes
In early February 2008, as word spread around Paris that Deyrolle, the legendary Left Bank taxidermy shop, had been gutted by a fire, dozens of clients, neighbors and artists made their way to Rue du Bac to survey the spectacular damage. One of them–carrying a camera–was Laurent Bochet. “As a photographer, it’s automatically something you want to see,” says Bochet, who spent the next few months immortalizing the remains of Deyrolle’s stock in a series of haunting photographs, now collected in the book 1000 Degrees: Deyrolle (Assouline).
Among Bochet’s subjects are a half-charred yet still proud-looking male lion, a contorted Nile crocodile and poignantly ash-flecked butterfly cases, which appear alongside portraits of Deyrolle owner Louis Albert de Broglie and other Paris fixtures.
Of the still-life images (some of which are now on exhibit at the store, which re-opened last month after a complete renovation) Bochet says, “I wasn’t trying to interpret or dramatize anything–there was no need to. It’s just incredible to see animals that have died and been given a second life in a way, through taxidermy, and then died a second time in a fire. And now, it’s as if photography is giving them a third life.”
Photographs by Laurent Bochet (above).