Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mila 2.0

Mila 2.0, originally uploaded by margotwood.

This fauxto was inspired by the new sci-fi young adult book, MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza.

The book is about a teenage girl who lives her life thinking she's a normal girl, only to discover that she is actually an android. This book has been optioned to be a TV series with producer Shonda Rimes! (She also produces Grey's Anatomy and Scandal)

(Spoiler? This isn't really a spoiler, more just me helping put this shot into context since this book just came out and you probably haven't read it yet. )

This shot is a recreation of a specific scene in the book after Mila discovers what she is. She is given a USB card to download the files off of, and to do so, she must insert the card into her android body's hidden USB slot in her wrist.

The thing about doing fauxtos for sci-fi novels is trying not to go overboard. I could have done many "out there" concepts but instead I chose to make this moment, this scene, this fauxto as real as possible. The heart of MILA 2.0 is that Mila feels human. She has no idea she is an android and spends the entire novel grappling with what it means to be human...and machine.

Now, I did make some style decisions that also reflected the sci-fi of it. This shot is really bright. REALLY BRIGHT. I did that on purpose (in Camera Raw, by the way, not with lighting) because to me, something about starkness and high contrasts equals high-tech. I don't know why I think that way. I'll go ahead and blame it on Apple products.

As for taking this shot...holy mother of god was this a pain in the ass. As with any closeup photograph, the important thing is making sure you get your focus right. Doing that while being in front of the camera and having no one to help you out makes you want to pull your hair out. I think I went back and forth about 20 times trying to get this right. If anything, this experience could mean one of the last times I'm in front of the camera. It's incredibly frustrating, time consuming and exhausting. My entire process would be so much faster if I could just learn how to convince people to pose for me.

So that's my next fauxtographic goal. Expand my network of people willing to pose for me. If you're a friend of mine, lookout, because I'm coming for you.

Anyways, if you haven't read the book but are now intrigued to do so, my job here is done. If you have already read it, I would love your feedback on this shot!

Note on sharing: As with all my fauxtos you are free to share, tweet, tumble, pin, whatever my shots as long as you give credit where credit is due. Just a simple link back to this site or my Flickr page is fine. Respect the artist, respect the art. :-)


  1. Awesome shot! I agree; something about stark lighting makes it feel more sci-fi. What kind of device did you select to insert into your wrist? It doesn't look like a normal USB drive, but I do think it drives the point home (heh-heh) well.

    I'm surprised nobody wants to pose in photos for you! Hopefully some of your friends will start volunteering. :D

    1. Hey Kelley, thanks for the feedback! The USB card I used was a Samsung one made for digital cameras. I believe it's just a normal one, but the backing was different than other USB cards I have, so I went with that.

  2. Margot, we've read this and absolutely LOVE your take on it. So simple, but perfect. Even (especially) the eyes. xx

  3. Wish I were in NYC so I could model for you sometimes! (Er, but you'd need to Photoshop some blemishes...) As I said on Twitter, I LOVE this shot, Margot. The starkness really, really works.

  4. I love it! It's simplistic, yet all techy and stuff. It really gets your point of the whole sci-fi thing across. And I'll pose for you anytime ;) I think I live close to ya.

  5. I haven't read this book yet, but I love this shot! It's beautiful and captivating. And most importantly it tells a story, one that is understandable even if you haven't read the book! I wish I could model, but I live on the other side of the country...

  6. Love this! Makes me want to read this book. Fun!

  7. This was on my TTT list for spring! Can't wait to read this, great fauxto either way! You are so ridiculously talented :)

  8. This is the perfect scene to choose for a fauxto--and I love the super white brightness and your lovely eyes in the background. It sounds like it was a pain to pull off, but the results were worth it! The fauxto perfectly combines the tech-ness of what's happening along with the very human girl/story at the heart of MILA.

  9. I love this shot. The simplicity of it draws the eye, but it hints at a concept that's greater and more complex than expected (android/human dilemma). You did a great job!

  10. I love the way you represent the book here! I still haven't gotten around to reading this ARC but it's at the top of my list for when I'm in a sci-fi kind of mood.

    As far as finding models for future fauxtos, have you considered partnering with a local library? We're doing a program for summer reading 100% inspired by your fauxtos! We asked a local photographer who specializes in special photography (she does things like 50s styled pin up shots) to help with costumes and take the photos, but the teens are picking the scene and designing the concept of the shot, and they get to learn about photography in the process. Librarians love when people with specialized skills want to share their knowledge for programs. You'd have to work out permission/liability/etc, but it might be worth a shot, particularly when you need a big group.

  11. I haven't read Mila 2.0 as yet but I'm really glad that you picked this scene to be the fauxto, it seems to be turning point for the main character. And to think you did it all by yourself, kudos to you! You have me impressed. =D

  12. This is literally...the perfect picture for this book. I finished it last week for my blog. Well done! (as always) :)

  13. think japan made a cartoon about this, like, 10 years ago: it's called "chobbits", and the slot isn't in the wrist...

    still waiting on the zombie apokolypse

  14. Love!!! You have awesome ideas! I hope you keep doing these, theyre so creative! Plus I love interesting photography!

  15. Simple, Raw, Awesomeness! You know if I lived closer to you I would be all over posing ;) Who wouldn't want to! Your name is gonna be up in lighst and the ones who turn you down will regret it!

    Keep at the awesomeness!