|The Butterfly Boys|
Well the simple answer is Urchin Boy and his brother the Man with a Fish on his head.
Paul Biddle first met the identical twins at an impromptu party in 1875 long before either of them were born. Just like any normal person he was overcome with a desperate urge to stick things on their heads. They were in effect a blank canvas, a phrenologists delight.
He approached them with the idea of making a portrait. Paul Biddle confesses that he made no mention of his desire to place objet on their heads. What follows is in Biddles' own words.
"Myself and my Muse and Missus arrived at their residence. Only one of the twins agreed to sit for a portrait. The other - lets call him Twin B positively refused and hid upstairs in a room which can only be described as being filled with the dust gathered from ancient Grand Pianos.
We busied ourselves setting up lights and the camera - mere devices for capturing likenesses. Meanwhile I was desperately trying to look as though I knew what I was doing but in truth I had a pocketful of sea urchin shells which I was desperate to stick on the models' bald head. I came clean and told him of my intentions - UrchinBoy responded with the beginnings of a quirky smile.
My Muse and I began to try to attach the said Sea Urchin shells to his head, a task easier said than done. We laboured for some time to no avail, as you have probably found out when trying this for yourselves at home. Sea Urchin shells resist being stuck to anything on Principle. After several hours we had to use a special Trade Secret to apply those pretty little shells to his head."
Many people - well a few - have cried - Those Eyes Those Eyes - Is it Picasso? A firm NO has always been my answer
The tattoo on his arm is not in fact a tattoo it is a real sea-horse.
After processing the film I made a black and white print in my darkroom and took it into the studio. Whereupon I covered it in pieces of broken glass and used a spot of light here and there to bring the image to life and yes you are quite right the object bottom right is a dried and rather smelly Flying Fish.
Collectors of my prints will tell you there is a fly buzzing about the set.
As to the meaning behind these images I have always left it to the viewer to decide. Often they arrive at much better
concepts than I could ever come up with."
Postscript to the Post:
Yes, the Dog Biscuit Mantle is made by my Muse and Missus
and yes it is made from real dog biscuits
Rather apt we thought
EDITORS NOTE : Paul sometimes uses dates which have little or nothing to do with reality.