Monday, April 29, 2013

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave, originally uploaded by margotwood. (Click here to view this at a larger size.)

The latest fauxto in my Young Adults series was inspired by The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

Brace yourself for a long story, because this shot deserves a long post.

For those of you that haven't read The 5th Wave yet, allow me to brief you on what it's all about. ALIENS TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Okay, you've been briefed.

This photo is not a spoiler, but if I give you the background to it I will certainly spoil some of it for you, so instead, the only thing I'm going to say about this specific scene is that it is a literal interpretation of a scene in chapter 19 of the book. There was one sentence that totally stuck with me (okay, so this is an interpretation of just one sentence) : "We stepped into the bright sunshine, the man in the gas mask and the girl with the teddy bear."

To achieve this fauxto, all I needed was a gas mask (thank you Amazon), a teddy bear (see below) and a dude to pose with me. Enter my father, the hero.

Some of you may know that my Dad has brain cancer. Technically, it's called a glioblastoma and all you need to know about that is that it's a fucking bitch. He had one operation on Christmas Day and two weeks ago we found out that another tumor popped up post-surgery, post-chemo and post-radiation. That, my friends, is not good. Where my Dad's tumor is located is right in the middle of the memory part of the brain, so what we were most worried about with this second surgery was memory loss.

So, the Wood family made plans to come back into town for surgery #2 and I booked my trip a few days ahead of time so I could have some time to take some fauxtos. I knew I wanted to do a fauxto for The 5th Wave as I seriously adored the post-apocalypse novel, and since the book takes place in the Ohio valley I thought a trip home would be the perfect location for the shot (since I am from the Ohio valley).

My Dad has been in front of my camera several times over the years and when I told him about the idea I had for the shot he jumped at the idea of getting to wear a gas mask and hold a gun to my head. (We have a special relationship.) With the help of my Mom who did some location scouting along Route 52 that follows the Ohio river west, we found the perfect location - an abandoned 19th century stone house that sits right on the edge of a cliff that shoots down to the river. Here's an unedited photo of the front of the house, we shot behind it:

So my Dad and I took off for an afternoon adventure driving the hour west to find this stone house my Mom had spotted weeks prior. A few wrong turns and we finally found it and promptly ran inside the building (not a good idea) and got the crap scared out of us because massive vultures had taken up residence inside. Fun times. After clearing the house of vermin, we decided it was too bright (see how bright that photo is above?!) and I was missing an essential prop: a teddy bear. (Photographers take note: It is really, really difficult to shoot in bright, full sun. Never shoot at noon and always try to wait either until the "magic hour" or at least a few hours past noon to avoid the harsh light.)

Back in the car, we drive back east a few miles until we spot a janky old ferry that's taking cars across the Ohio river into Augusta, Kentucky - a tiny, TINY, town built in the late 1700s that pretty much the same still. There, we proceeded to raid the antique shops (we bought an old book on poison cooking) and found a teddy bear at the home / gift shop of some local resident. (PS - I decided to leave the teddy bear inside the house for the next adventurers. He can keep his aviary roommates company.) Next up was lunch at The Beehive Tavern and time killing until the light was better.

2pm and back on the ferry we go, back to Ohio. When we finally get back to the house it's still "shiny" out (my Dad's word) but better than it was before. Showtime! We took about 50 different shots, trying out various styles. Dad had fun pretending to shoot me and I had fun pretending to be annoyed. (Here's a closeup of us in the photo above since most of you are probably looking at this post on tiny phones.)

The 5th Wave - Closeup - by The Real Fauxtographer

As for the fauxto, well, I'm in love. I was worried it was going to be too bright (or shiny) and I wouldn't achieve the look I was going for, but a few tricks in Photoshop turned all the greenery into fall colors and the river on the right paired with the house on the left makes for one of my favorite shots to date. Unfortunately for internet friends, this photo is best viewed as large as possible as Flickr seems to compress the image on smaller screens making it look sharper than I intended. So if you can, try to view the shot on a large monitor - I want you to get the proper effect!

All in all the shot was captured and another adventure was had. This was a day for the memory keeper and will probably go down as one of my favorite times I've ever had with my Dad.

As of this morning my Dad's surgery was complete and he is awake and talking and, amazingly, the surgery did not affect his short-term memory. He remembers our little dragon-slaying adventure. So here's hoping that this next round of chemo works better than the last because I intend on having him star in as many future fauxtos as possible.


  1. This is awesome. So glad you and your dad got to create this.

  2. OH! I love this! I haven't read THE FIFTH WAVE, but this fauxto captures so many emotions and gah, it's just beautiful.

    I love your work, Margot!

  3. Love this! Now I really can't wait to read The Fifth Wave!

    Sending well wishes for good health and strength to your dad.

    Great work!

    1. Thank you so much Alana! I got a call from him this morning and so far, all systems are go. To infinity and beyond!

  4. Incredible fauxto, incredibler news about your dad. Lots of smiles coming from the 614 your way today. :D

  5. This is AMAZING. Seriously. The shot is so striking! And your dad is a total trooper and totally awesome.

  6. Great shot, and a great story! I just finished that scene and agree that the line really sticks out and stays with you. It's such a juxtaposition. Hope your father's second round goes better ;)

  7. This is SUCH a fantastic shot. Beautiful covers. Love the bit of the house included (that house is gorgeous). So glad to hear your dad is doing okay.

  8. I haven't read The Fifth Wave yet, but this definitely makes me want to even more! I'm interested in where this is going! Glad to see your dad is doing ok!

  9. I'm sorry to hear that a second surgery was necessary, but so, so glad that it seems to have gone well. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a strong recovery, and you already know that you and your family are in my thoughts. *hugs*

    As for the photo, I love it. I haven't read the book, but it seems to perfectly encapsulate that line. Also, haha, later generations of your family are going to look back on all these fauxtos and go, "Man, that Margot sure was a weirdo. (Hope we got HER genes!)" ;P

  10. Absolutely gorgeous Margot! It's a beautiful and intriguing shot made even more so by knowing it's you and your dad on an afternoon away from the struggles your family is going through. Wishing your dad a speedy recovery and I hope to see him in front of the lens again soon!

  11. Fantastic fauxto, and fantastic your Dad came out of surgery remembering this day!

  12. I was so attracted to the book cover!!! Must Add!!!

  13. You know what I like best about your fauxtos, Margot? How you capture the mood of a scene, which is never the typical scene or mood that a reader might anticipate. I really like this one in particular, because of the contrast between the grimness of the gas mask in this gorgeous setting. (Those colors and that abandoned house are amazing!) Sometimes when you read a book it's easy to get caught up in the tension and plot, but I like this glimpse of beauty. And I always love hearing the story of how you set up a shot!

    I'm sending you so much love, too, because my father was sick for most of my life and I know how hard it must be to go through this. There's clearly so much love between you and your dad, and seeing him in these photos with you is so special. Love to you, love to your dad, and I'm so glad he came out of this surgery intact. <3

  14. Amazing as always!!! This book is next on my tbr pile and this fauxto makes me impatient to start it. Prayers for your dad. So glad the procedure went well. And that y'all had such a great day.

  15. I loved The 5th Wave and <3 your fauxto!

  16. BEAUTIFUL picture. I love that it was a whole family project with your mom location scouting too! :) Did you take it on a timer, since you're in the shot?
    The colours truly came out so beautifully and I'm glad to hear your dad's surgery went well!

  17. Awesome story behind the photo! Your dad sounds like a hoot haha. Also. You realize that teddy bear is going to be the makings of a ghost story as soon as kids find it right? Gonna freak someone the F**k out !

  18. Amazing photo and great story - thank you for sharing!

  19. I cannot WAIT to read more of this. I mean, you just know so much about this. So much of it Ive never even thought of. You sure did put a new twist on something that Ive heard so much about. I dont believe Ive actually read anything that
    does this subject as good justice as you just did. clipping path

  20. I like your photography and blog. The book inspired photography is creative!
    I'm sorry to hear about your dad. My grandpa was diagnosed with Glioblastoma in April 2010, located in the center of his brain so surgery was out of the question. Unfortunately we only had him for another 4 months. I realize this is an older blog post so I'm not sure what the current news is on your father, but I pray that your father is doing well and my thoughts and sympathies go out to your family.

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