How the ‘Spaghetti Incident’ was shot

Posted by Ines Opifantion Filed under Personal work

This picture (nope, the title is not inspired or related to “Guns ‘n’ Roses) was planned, styled and shot specifically for the “Dedpxl Assignment” #9. While I skipped most of the earlier assignments because they reminded me too much of photo school, I knew instantly that this one would be a lot of fun.

I had done quite a few self portraits in the couple of years, mainly because this was my way to learn about flashes, modifiers and posing without having to embarrass myself in front of another person. In my humble beginnings, I would have never dared to ask another person to pose for my camera, so I did it all myself, with some basic tools like thread, tape and a remote to nail the focus. Or, don’t.

It took a few hours and a long bath (yep, I’m most creative when I splash in the tub like a little seal) to come up with the idea, I had a few to choose from, but I mainly wanted something funny but yet, achievable on my own.

I don’t remember the exact chain of thoughts that finally led me to the spaghetti idea, but it probably involved me being hungry and loving spaghetti. My mom still owns an old photograph of me (or was it my brother? We looked pretty similar as kids..) munching on a bowl of noodles using both hands and being covered with tomato sauce from head to toe. I kind of wanted to capture the essence of that snapshot, the only difference is that I’m now an adult and usually try not to eat like that. (Except for Döner. You just can’t eat Döner without mashing your face into it.)

Also, I knew that I’d shoot this in the studio, trying to create some type of vintage room inside my small working space. I found all of the decoration at my local IKEA, which includes some fabric that I used as the background, a white plate, some cutlery and a vintage lamp (which I ended up not using, because I decided for an almost square format). Total cost: 17€. Oh yeah, and I bought the shirt in the children’s department of the local supermarket for 4€.

I “built” the table from a simple sheet of plywood and two wooden trestle legs that I need in the studio anyway. Covered with a white table cloth, the set was good to go.

The lighting setup was fairly simple, two strips as rimlights/kickers, a socked beauty dish as mainlight from center above and a head with a simple reflector behind me, pointing at the background. The tablecloth also doubled as a reflector.

My husband agreed to assist me on this photo, he helped me to drape the spaghetti all over my arm and shoulders nicely, which was, honestly, quite, err… a new experience. I had my camera tethered to the laptop which was on my right hand side just out of the picture, so I could set the focus of the camera on my own.

I put the remote control under my naked foot, that allowed me to press the shutter button with my tosies. Nice. Next time, I’ll velcro it to the floor, so I don’t lose it.

My husband shot the “behind the scenes” with his iPhone. You can see me triggering the camera with my naked foot, lol!

So far, that’s all about how the picture was done. I totally ruined the white shirt, so if anybody has an idea how to get the tomato sauce out of it… Drop me a line. Thanks.

PS: Ignore the wig on the table. I decided against wearing it.