Monday, February 2, 2015

Fatima Inês | The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Fatima Inês | The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

This is the first in a series of photographs inspired by the young adult novel THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER by Leslye Walton - one of the most beautiful and well-written books I have ever read in my entire life. This is the kind of book photographers like me dream about because it is so insanely visual and lyrical. If you haven't read this book, I cannot stress enough how much you need to read this amazing work of art. Because that's what the book is. It's art. Now, onto the fauxto....

I am planning on taking several fauxtos inspired by this book. Each image will depict very specific characters or moments in the story and in this shot, I am portraying Fatina Inês and this exact sentence from the book:

"When the priest set the host upon the rose of the young Fatima Inês's tongue, however, the holy wafer burst into flame."

No bodies of Christ were harmed in the making of this fauxto, but a few rice crackers did get eaten. To get this shot, I had to do it in two parts: first, photograph some fire(!!!) and then photograph Fatima receiving the holy host.

You know what's a pain in the ass to photograph? Flames. It is really difficult to capture detail when doing macro fire photography and to be quite honest, I don't really have the equipment capable of getting incredibly detailed close ups, so I had to just work with what I got...which was a Wood Wick candle, a tripod and my 35mm fixed lens. Oh yeah, and using my left hand to fan the flame so it would dance (dance you monkey! dance!) while also trying not to burn myself, my hair or my apartment down.

Next, I photographed myself eating some crackers. That was basically it. I asked The BF (aka The Darkling) to stand in as my "priest" and just hold the cracker on my tongue while I pushed the shutter release button down with my right hand. I am super profesh, you guys.

Then came the tedious part. Photoshopping the crap out of these flames because holy mother of all that is annoying is it hard to make flames on a cracker look realistic. I have three different versions of this fauxto. One where the flame was big and dramatic but had minimal detail, and one with a small, skinny flame that looked way more realistic. What I did was combine the two and make really, really tiny edits until I got it in a place that wasn't sucky.

Anyways, that's what you see here and I am pretty jazzed about it, but even more jazzed about the next fauxtos for this mini-series within a series. All I need to acquire for the next Ava Lavender shots are a pig's heart, some blue ashes, a dead canary and a set of incredibly realistic-looking wings that also happen to be 12ft long.


Check out The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton! 
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Have suggestions for YA fauxtos? Share them with me in the comments below with any specific ideas you have in mind!


  1. Margot, this photo is amazing! I know I keep saying that, but they ARE. You are always on your game, if not upping it!

    To be honest, I wondered how you managed to hold/eat/photograph a flaming cracker -- so obviously realism is not an issue here. I was totally sold! And the lighting and coloration is lovely.

    Can't wait to see the rest of the series!

  2. I loved this book! I think this picture is so incredible and fits the book perfectly. Amazing!


  3. I started reading this book recently and I could tell right from the first pages that I would LOVE it. Sadly, I haven't found the time to return to it, but I'm really looking forward to reading more.

  4. Hello Margot
    Really your photo is amazing and the book is professional. Must be i read this. Thanks

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  5. I like adult novel. Hopefully it give more pleasurable movement. Thanks for information.

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  6. Honestly, I knew nothing about this book before I opened the cover. Even after reading the synopsis, I couldn't tell you what it was about. I had no clue why I wanted to read it so badly, but I did. So, I filled out a purchase request at the library, and when it came in--slightly before the release date--I had to sneak a peek. And I almost couldn't put it down.

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  7. Hopefully it's a great book. I wait for reading the book. Thanks for sharing a beautiful information.

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  9. Heartbreaking, haunting, and yet strangely hopeful, this book was so very unlike anything else I've read. It was oddly whimsical and literary, two things that don't often pop up in YA. But it was also heartfelt and utterly engrossing. Less than three pages in, I was hooked. By fifty pages, I was on Amazon ordering my own copy, knowing full well I would finish the book before the package even came. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender just may be my favorite read of the year.

  10. looking nice photo, it's very nice book, thank you

  11. Whimsical, wonderful and well written, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavendar weaves its way into your soul and stays there for days after finishing the final page.

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