Charr(m)ed Remains

deyrolleIn the wee morning hours of February 1st, 2008, a four-alarm fire ravaged the most ancient and atmospheric taxidermy shop in Paris. For those familiar with Deyrolle—a crowded cabinet of curiosities located in a multi-room apartment above street level—the news was creepy, if not totally surreal (imagine all those dead beasts having to go through it all again??). “The scene had a Pompeii feeling to it, almost like an archeological dig,” recalls photographer Laurent Bochet of the charred and ransacked insides of the nearly two-hundred-year-old boutique. All of the furniture had gone up in smoke, an entire room was missing a ceiling, and close to 90% of the historic inventory was now a pile of smoking cinders. A close friend of Deyrolle’s owner Louis Albert de Broglie, Bochet was miraculously given carte blanche to capture it all on film. Working quickly to snap the animals before they crumbled, Bochet set up a makeshift studio on site. In the harried two weeks following the fire, he shot close to 300 photographs, from eviscerated goats and roasted butterflies to liquefied canisters and sooty minerals.


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