I have a question for you: What would you have been if you were born and raised in an another place and time?
I spent the last ten years outside of my mother country and because of this I often ask myself what I would be doing if I stayed in my country. I notice how exploring other cultures and places changed my perspective. I know for sure that my day to day way of creating would've been entirely different and without less freedom. Freedom is a word I hear a lot from the mouths of sailors.
Today I will bring you to the seaside, in a very small village in the southwest of France called La Chaume, where we are going to explore the magnificent Journal of the sailor Paul-Emile Pajot.
La Chaume was created during the XV century and it is a typical village of sailors and fishermen...
Each day the boats arrive from the Atlantic full of fish. They stop by the the dock, and villagers and vendors are waiting to buy the fish directly from the boats. This has been the tradition for centuries and I believe it will stay even if there is just one fisherman, one boat, and one fish in the ocean.
Todays lunch specials:
- Crab legs
- Grilled sardines with goat cheese on grilled eggplant.
In some ways it's as if La Chaume is placed out of time. Here people live in the same way that their parents and grandparents used to. The only rhythm they follow is the one from the ocean. And when they try to be more modern, sometimes it does not quite work as expected.
But who really cares? As long that the ocean is still there to protect and feed them. Sometimes the ocean is in a bad mood, and then he becomes a nightmare for the villagers living on the coast.
Someone here can tell us a lot about the fury of the ocean, the legends and the life around and in it. His name is Paul-Emile Pajot.
Paul-Emile Pajot was born in La Chaume in 1873 to a family of sailors. His father died on a boat called "Jeune Ernestine" during a storm with 10 other fish boats. The young Paul-Emile was traumatized and it's probable that his fathers death was the event that inspired him to start his journal. After living a life between the sea and his art, Pajot died in 1929.
The Journal of P-E Pajot also titled "My Adventures" is composed in five volumes. It's 2,500 pages entirely hand written, with more than 1,000 illustrations drawn with pencil and ink and guaches.
Those "Adventures" tell the story of a sailor's life in La Chaume, his stories as a fisherman, the drama from the seaside, his life with his family and life in the village and around the docks.
What could be just one more journal becomes an astonishingly strange document. Pajot had created an eclectic journal by overlapping writings of anecdotes from the first world war mixed with some portraits of people, adding in some encyclopedic representations of the newest innovative boats, and cataloging testimony of undersea life with some incredibly strange illustrations of animals from the sea. His vast amounts of illustrations are sometimes descriptive, like he is reporting the information, and sometimes it's imaginative, just pure art.
What Pajot reminds us throughout his journal pages of the sea life (and death), is the domination of the elements on people and the disturbing beauty of it. He said, "Nothing is more sublime than a shipwreck."