Excess

August 4th, 2010 by Rebekka in Uncategorized

The past two months I’ve been working on this newest series of photos, which is the online exhibit for August on the website of The Nevica Project, where I’m one of the featured artists.

The original idea was just to make the photo above,  because I happened to have a large glass-shaped vase from Ikea, and figured it would be neat to bake an oversized slice of cake to go with it.  I asked my brother to make me a giant fork to complete the illusion. (I also had the top sawed off the glass so it would have the same proportions as a typical drinking glass) Many have already seen this picture on Flickr, and surprisingly many of them thought the glass, cake and fork were photoshopped. (something people assume about a lot of photos of mine that aren’t faked at all) .

Anyway, after making this first image in May, I decided to create this series, a tongue-in-cheek reflection on how those of us fortunate enough to live in privileged parts of the world have far more food (and other commodities) than we need, or can indeed consume.   I’m particularly pleased with my young models, who manage to convey perfectly with their somewhat bored and unimpressed expressions how we tend to take our good fortune for granted.

As with the first picture, nothing is faked, and a great deal of trial and error went into making the food in giant proportions.

For the fun of it,  here are a few pictures from “behind the scenes” , just for the hell of it:

The burger reduced from photo-prop to substantial meal for three, with quite a bit left over.

my older son assiting me with the cheerios preparation..

I made fresh pasta dough, from which I hand rolled extra wide strips of "tagliatelle", as well as extra big lasagne sheets...

.. and in fact assembled a huge portion of lasagne, TWICE. sadly both times it shrank too much in the oven to look impressive enough to use for the series.

Again, be sure to check out the exhibit to see the images larger.  Limited edition prints are available.

Read 29 comments

29 comments for this post

Simply awesome!

Wow. The creativity and craft that went into these photographs _is_ awesome. In addition to the obvious preparation of the food and utensils (I really love that they’re real), I love the simplicity of the compositions and the expression on the models’ faces, especially the girl with the cake.

Anyway, well done.

jestem wrote on August 4th, 2010

Those are fantastic. Excellent work with the props.

Those images are amazing. I love the fact that nothing is photoshopped, especially since I do matte painting and know how it works to photoshop something. Sometimes it takes the illusion out of everything, once you know how it is being done, and even manage to do it yourself. So, thank you for recreating this illusion for me, I love it!

hleewell wrote on August 5th, 2010

The other non-flickr images really put thing in perspective. Originally I thought you did these shots for fun & giggles or self-challenge. The one with the SuperSize burgers (with your youngest son) would work instantly as a social commentary as burger has always been associated with the excess of mega corporation. I have a newfound appreciation for this series.

Glad to hear it.
btw, that’s actually my older boy (12) on the burger pic. My younger one (10) is stealing the cookie ;)

Wow, you did a great jog with the props. I would have bet it was photoshop’ed because they look so real. Are they really editable?

“bet they looked photoshopped because they looked real”

that’s an odd thing to say when you think about it?

“this looks so real it can’t be real”

just saying ;)

LOL. I hope you understand I meant that as a complement that your larger than life food looks exactly like the real food.

hehe yeah i knew what you meant , no worries ;)

also, i misspelled what was meant to be a direct quote of what you wrote, silly me.

But yeah, even close friends were baffled by some of these pics, the burger in particular. “oh wait, it’s actually that big for real?” even knowing i’m not one for faking stuff in PS. These were really awkward sizes to work with so i’m glad they turned out so much like the normal stuff :)

makes me think of the front cover of The Who Sell Out: http://bit.ly/9Byjrd

So are they editable (ie real food)?

yes all of the food pictured was (at least partially) eaten afterward. The burger, cake and cookies were all crazy good .. still have the “cheerios” in a bag in the cupboard, i dried them out and toasted in the oven to make them crunchier (in order to keep them light colored i only baked them a little bit, so they were still chewy on the picture) , i’ll probably grind them down and re-use the “flour” (the dough was made up of ground oats, barley, milk sugar and eggs) for crackers or bread or something. The plan was that nothing would go to waste, basically.

NoNamePlease wrote on August 6th, 2010

I hope…I mean, I truly believe you both meant “edible”. Right? Otherwise you could have used concrete and arsenic — and the food would have still been “editable” [sic].

These are uniformly excellent. I can’t make up my mind about which one is my favourite. I could eat them all.

This is very cool, Rebekka. The behind the scenes seems an important part of the work. The story of the veracity of the images, and the realness and goodness of the food, ensures we can see the final images as a contemplation of excess.

Knowing it is neither prop nor photoshop gives the food real density when I look at it.

Reminds me of the movie “Uncle Buck” when John Candy made these giant pancakes for his nephews birthday. I sure hope Burger King don’t see these images and get any crazy ideas about super duper sizing their menu again. Bet the TV show “Good Morning America” would be interested in your creative project? If not you could always hit the cooking channel (Food network). BTW, I was curious how big is your oven because Thanksgiving & Christmas is just around the corner. :o )

Hehe. Coincidentally enough, i did also make giant pancakes, and had my nephew pose with them. That picture just didn’t turn out well enough, or rather, my pancakes, while definitely big enough, just weren’t photogenic enough. They were quickly and happily eaten by my nephew and my sons tho, so it was worth a try at least.

The amount of work you put into these shots is amazing. The work really comes through and your props look real because they are real. And your work is real – real wonderful!

Derridale (Pete) wrote on August 10th, 2010

Really well done, Rebekka :)

The giant knife and fork, with the little girl’s hand holding them, is the giveaway that the props are real and not Photoshopped. Even for a PS expert, that would be difficult to achieve convincingly.

Very creative, very clever, and make your point very well.

Wow. This is quite impressive Rebekka. I only wish I was half the photographer that you are (I’ll get there one day … *crosses fingers* *knocks on wood*) …. this series makes me want to start my own “art meets food” photography project.

This is inspirational.

I hope by viewing this photos that we think about our own waste stream.

This whole series is amazing. You’re totally crazy, cooking all these giant-sized foods; I absolutely love the creativity and dedication to your craft!

Holy smoke. I really did think that you photoshopped it. My reasoning was that surely no one would go to that effort to produce the oversized food effect. Truly interesting and insightful Rebekka.

I wish all food was made this big, I swear things are getting smaller!

The message is as wonderful as the photos…there are way too many people on this planet who DONT have the food they need and yet many have excessive amounts of it…life is sometimes upside down. You have really gone the extra mile for this project and it shows!

Love it!

I can appreciate your attention to every detail. You really put a huge effort into this project.

The oversized utensils and food are amazing!

I always like your work, it’s great.

P.S. do you do much cooking? your pan has still got the price tag on it..

keep up the good work. If you could tell us something about the camera settings, that would help.

Pete UK

I can assure you no pan of mine still has the price tag on it. I’m one hell of a cook, even if I say so myself ;)

The pot you’re probably referring to is a relatively new one tho, from Ikea, for some reason they put industrial strength stickers on everything, simply haven’t bothered to pick it off yet ..

Whey, I didn’t notice the price-tag, some people really have a good eye…;-)

Finest Greetings

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