"Red hot Slices" Explained

If you, like me, have searched the internet for still life and food photography images, I am sure you came across a photo of a "fragmented" or "sliced" fruit or vegetable, were the fragments, or slices, were clearly separated from one another and even oriented differently with respect to its neighbour slices. A bit like my "Red hot Slices" photograph I created today and shown below.

My "Red Hot Slices"

My "Red Hot Slices"

I always liked those images and I always wondered how photographers were doing to create them: a skeleton to mount all the slices, then to be removed in photoshop? a single photograph per slice to be then all merged together in photoshop? Or, may be, could it be that those photographers owned a very secret and hi-tech anti gravity photographic table?

Today I was playing around with red pepper and I decided to craft two new kinds of photographs. New kinds for me, obviously, as none of those is ground breaking in terms of novelty. Anyway, one of those photos I wanted to realise was a sliced red pepper suspended in mid air, portrayed in low key.

Low key kind of my style for everything is done in studio, btw.

Since I have a basic knowledge of photoshop, I tend to craft my images for real as much as I can, before turn digital therefore, while slicing the pepper, I was thinking at how I could keep the slices in position for the photo and started to consider to build a structure made of metal wires to support the slices.

A Clumsy solution that would have required me to delete the wires later on in photoshop and to deal with the wires reflections. But then I remembered that what I was trying to do was a photography, and that in photography things may be very different from what they are in reality. For example, who said that the reflecting surface I wanted to use as "ground" for my image should be oriented as the real ground in our physical world?

And so, I grabbed a black cardboard and I placed flat on a table. Next, as if it was a wall, I put on it my reflective surface and, in front of it, another "black cardboard" wall. A black, matte, external HD was placed on its side on the cardboard on the table, next to the reflective wall, and the pepper slices arranged on the HD side. This was to keep the pepper far from what would have become the background of my image and near the reflective surface, oriented at an angle.

A single flashlight was used to lit the scene and I took the shot from high above the table, looking down. The actual set is shown in the image below.

The set used for the "Red Hot Slices" photograph.

The set used for the "Red Hot Slices" photograph.

As you can see, the set is far from be high tech or very professional, but, since I am going for a low key image, it does the trick very well, as you can see from the "straight out the camera" image shown below.

The "Straight out the camera" RAW image.

The "Straight out the camera" RAW image.

As you can see, I had to do nothing more than the usual tuning (contrast, brightness, saturation, etc), ensure the black is a pure black and crop the image for square format.

I hope you have enjoyed this behind the still.