Still life and design through the Revenge of Parrot

Designed by Alessandro Mendini and produced by Alessi, Parrot is a corkscrew for sommeliers, in cast aluminum and PC.
During our still life lessons, we usually imagine a story behind every object before we get to the shot.
Here we have imagined a fairy tale entitled “The Revenge of Parrot”. In this tale, the main character manages to escape from the cage that holds him prisoner, but not before locking up some top quality wine caps in its place.

Obviously, translating an idea into a single image is always very complex.
In order to represent our idea at best, we firstly looked for a cage in different antique shop in Milan, for the right branches, for a proper wooden table and for a supply of caps.

After recovering all the needed scenic elements, we have proceeded illuminating the set with the aim of making the corkscrew the main subject of the shot.
The set was made by hanging the wooden board in a vacuum and arranging the caps inside the cage. The cage was placed on the wooden table in suspension and rotated towards the shooting point, so as to make it more three-dimensional.

More difficult was to find the right position for Parrot, having to be connected to the branch with a system allowing it to rotate and illuminate them.

Even the choice of optics was carefully considered.
Usually, in still life we ​​avoid using very wide-angle lenses because they need very wide backgrounds, doe to their high angle of view.
However, in this case we have chosen to use a short focal length to give more depth to the shooting scene and, above all, to give greater emphasis to the corkscrew.

Regarding the set lighting, we used two 3000 W/s flash light points equipped with a Fresnel lens. The two flashes were placed laterally to illuminate the cage providing adequate contrast and three-dimensionality. We then used a flash point light, always at 3000 W/s, equipped with a small bank with  75 cm in length and wide 40cm
The corkscrew has a shiny metal surface at the top and the only possible  light source in these cases is just a bank. The latter was placed at the bottom so as to illuminate the corkscrew and the wooden board. For the backdrop a fourth light point 3000 W/s has been inserted, equipped with a standard parabola with wings and a blue flesh gel to emphasize the color.
The Hasselblad 555 ELD equipped with a 50 Megapixel Hasselblad CFV digital back and a Zeiss Distagon 40 mm Cfe IF lens. This optic also includes a special correction called “CRC” to limit distortions and improve focus at short distances.

The final result was an image in which all the details could be perfectly readable. The precise study of the various light points has also allowed to obtain different light and shadow areas that alternating on the set have made the whole three-dimensional and very impressive.