My first historical fiction fauxto has been added to my series of works inspired by young adult novels! This one was inspired by CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein - a gut-wrenching, novel a British spy plane that crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.
After reading this novel I knew I had to do a fauxto for it. First of all, it would be an massive challenge for me since I've never done a historical photo before and secondly, I have never worked with props of this magnitude before –– but for some reason I was really intent on doing a shot that included a parachute, so I set my mind to it and voila.
I have a lot to say about this photo and not quite sure how to organize my thoughts on it so I think listing them out might be helpful.
THINGS I LEARNED:
Federal Army and Navy surplus store in Seattle for selling me this and the flight suit my sister is wearing.
3. Laundry rope (the kind you hang clothes on) makes a great substitute for parachute lines. Most parachutes come with cut lines ––so you don't try to use them as real parachutes and end up killing yourself –– so I used laundry rope as a substitute.
4. Getting a parachute to billow is a pain in the ass unless it's really windy out and you have an extra pair of hands. It was me, my Dad and my sister on "set" for this shot and we couldn't get the chute to open on it's own without all three of us involved, so instead, I put the camera on a tripod, laid the chute down flat on the ground and took the photo of my sister posing first. Then all three of us opened the parachute, my dad used a leaf blower (!!) to get it started, then nature did the rest. Once the chute was wide open, we all ran out of frame and the shot was taken. What you see here is a composite of those two photos - the one of my sister and the one of the open chute. Thank you, Photoshop.
5. Sunny days are killing me. Much like the fauxto I did for The 5th Wave, the sun was cursing me the day we did this shot. It was just too damn bright to really achieve the darker, more subdued style I was going for, but trying to get the family together at the crack of dawn was kind of not an option, so I had no choice. It was now or never.
6. I am not a hair stylist. But I am pretty proud of being able to get a 1940's style flip in my sister's hair like you see in the shot. (You should see the other side of her hair. . . it was awful.)
THOUGHTS ON THE SHOT
1. Why does she have half a flight suit on? Well in my mind, the character my sister is portraying, Queenie, has just parachuted out of her friend's plane because her pilot friend, Maddie, couldn't land. But Queenie, being a British spy, would be wearing civilian clothes, but she wouldn't parachute down in them - she would wear a flight suit, probably over her civilian clothes. So I bought a flight suit and decided that the shot would be half flight suit as if Queenie had just started taking it off. I did this for two reasons: 1) I didn't want to have to put together a full, authentic 1940s outfit because I had already spent money on the chute and didn't have any budget left and 2) I didn't want her in the full flight suit because then she could have been mistaken for the other character in the book, Maddie.
2. Why is she looking away from the camera? When I originally conceived the shot I always pictured Queenie staring dead straight into the camera and I have several shots of my sister doing just that, but I decided to go with this one for a few reasons: 1) Her posture and glare is very confident and determined like the character and 2) in the plot line of the story, this scene would have taken place just before she is captured by the Nazi's. She's just landed in enemy territory, so I when I look at her looking away, I like to imagine she's getting her plan ready in her head. She's preparing herself for the task ahead. She's all business.
3. Why color? There are two versions of this fauxto and I love them both and had an incredibly hard time trying to decide which on I preferred. Last night I liked the black and white one better but this morning I decided the color version was the way to go. My coworker, Aubry, told me her grandfather's photos from WWII all looked like my color version, so that sold me. Color it is.
BEHIND THE SCENES!
I gave my Dad my camera phone to take some pics while my sister and I were working, so here are some behind-the-scenes shots!
A NOTE ON SHARING: Sharing is allowed but please respect the art and the artist and do not make alterations to this work. If you post this on your blogs, please either link to this blog post or my Flickr page and cite me as the artist. Thank you!