Interview with Margot Wood, the Real Fauxtographer

Today we’re VERY excited to be hosting the talented Margot Wood on the blog! In Margot’s The Real Fauxtographer series she takes photos inspired by YA novels – sometimes a cool moment, other times a detail that jumped out as very visual to her, and even characters! It’s all awesome and I’m a big fan. And Margot is also exclusively premiering her latest YA fauxto, which you can find after our interview.

real fauxtographer

ADAM: What’s the genesis story of your fauxto series? Has photography always been a hobby of yours? 

MARGOT: I didn’t get into photography until I was a senior in college at Emerson. I had to fill credits with bullshit courses and I thought, oh hey, photography seems like an easy A, I’ll do that. That class was one of the hardest and most challenging classes of my life. My teacher was such a hard ass and really demanding and I think the challenge of trying to create a photograph that she would be pleased with is what really got me into the craft. By the end of the semester I finally came up with a series of photos that she was happy with – a series of photographs of my Dad’s tin windup robot out on human adventures. Looking back on those photos, they aren’t my greatest works of art, but they were definitely the beginnings of my “fauxtography.”

The young adult fauxto series (which still needs a better name, if anyone has any ideas, holler at me) came about a few years after college, after I had moved to New York. I had developed a bit of a following in the city as an urban and graffiti photographer, but I quickly got bored with taking pictures of things that everyone else has taken pictures of. I wanted to find my “thing” that would help define me as a photographer but also continue to challenge me.

In late 2011 I discovered this book called THE HUNGER GAMES and this thing called Young Adult Novels and a new obsession was instantaneous. I was addicted. They became a drug, the bookstore, my opium den. But sadly, my new hobby required a lot of my time and attention and my photo hobby wasn’t doing much. So one day in January, while I was reading THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan, an idea for a photo came to me. It just popped into my head. You know those moments of pure clarity when everything makes sense and the world inside your head lights up like a firework? That’s exactly what the moment was like for me. It wasn’t just the idea for that photo, it was the idea for the series as a whole. I had finally found a way to combine my two favorite hobbies in a never-ending, continuously challenging way.

Forest of Hands and Teeth

Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

ADAM: Which shoot was the most difficult? And which was the costliest?

MARGOT: Every shoot I’ve done has been difficult in one way or another. A lot of the time I’m taking self portraits so the biggest pain in the ass is just getting the camera to focus on the exact spot I want it to, running into place and posing, just in time for the self-timer to go off. Then I’d run back over and review the shot, curse like a sailor because it wasn’t right and then do it all over again. . . for about 50 different takes.

The most expensive one to shoot was CODE NAME VERITY. I bought a $200 vintage French military parachute from the 1960s for that one. I’m not entirely sure how I would write that off on my taxes.

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein.

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein.

ADAM: Okay, own up: which fauxtos are your proudest of? If you say “all of them” expect pure destruction. And cancellation of all your favorite shows and book series. And more destruction.

MARGOT:  No destruction needed. I actually am not proud of all of them, at least not anymore. I look back on some and think “You fool! This could have been better!” But the ones that stand out for me as my favorites are TIGER LILY, SABRIEL, DOROTHY MUST DIE, BEAUTY QUEENS, CODE NAME VERITY, and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. To me, those are the ones that tell a story. They aren’t just random photos that may or may not be inspired by something, those are ones that are so specific to either the story of the characters that if you saw them, you’d have to ask what it was about in order to understand them.

DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige.

DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige.

ADAM: Have you ever considered being a cover designer? 

MARGOT: HELL YES. But I am like Jon Snow when it comes to actual cover design. I know nothing. I know what I think would look great on a cover, but I haven’t the faintest idea about typography or layouts or any of the actual skill that’s involved with making a book cover.

SABRIEL by Garth Nix.

SABRIEL by Garth Nix.

ADAM: Finally, if money isn’t an issue, which book(s) would you love to do a fauxto for?

MARGOT: Your book Adam, obviously. For reals though, I would do ALL OF THEM. If I had unlimited funds, I would travel every weekend to new locations for these photos. I hate shooting indoors (I’m pretty terrible at it) and I’m a nature girl at heart so I would just travel to a different place each time for new fauxtos. I would also hire an assistant and models for these shoots (unless you want to volunteer as tribute, Adam) because there are a lot of shoots I want to do but I can’t be in them. I need someone else to be in them and I need someone else to help me shoot them. And then with my dream funds, I would buy a really fancy camera. I have a nice one now, a Nikon D7000, but that’s not a truly “professional” one. True, you don’t need a fancy camera to take fancy pictures, but you asked me about my dream funds and well, that’s what I want. So gimme it.

Thanks for stopping by, Margot! Now here’s the fauxto for EXQUISITE CAPTIVE by Heather Demetrios! Isn’t it beautiful? The gold! THE GOLD!

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 11.35.19 PM

Have you been following Margot’s fauxto series? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

margotwoodMARGOT WOOD hates writing bios but will oblige because it is Adam Silvera asking her to write it. Margot was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH but left for Emerson College in Boston. Since then, she has lived in LA, back in Ohio and finally, currently, New York City. You probably know Margot from and all those Tea Time and YouTube videos. She has been the Community Manager of Epic Reads since it’s launch in May 2012. She likes candlelit dinners, long walks in lush forests and her favorite donut shop is Peter Pan Bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. You can follow her on Twitter @margotwood.


15 Responses to Interview with Margot Wood, the Real Fauxtographer

  1. Kristan Aug 29 2014 at 8:18 am #

    Oh, I follow. Because Margot is amazingly talented! And fun! And kind! I’m so happy to see her new photo and hear more about her process. Thanks for sharing!

    As for my favorite so far… Dang, that’s tough. I still have a pretty soft spot for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone fauxto, and the Crewel one is just so pretty! The Under the Never Sky triptych is pretty sweet too. I think Anna Dressed In Blood has the best behind-the-photoshoot story. But Sabriel and Code Name Verity are TOP tops.

    (Like I said, I follow. ;P)

    • Adam Silvera Aug 29 2014 at 9:40 am #

      I think I discovered Margot’s series with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone fauxto! And yeah, they’re all so special and awesome in their own way it’s hard to choose! Dorothy Must Die is definitely a favorite of mine.

  2. Sarah (appifanie) Aug 29 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Ooh I love all of them but the Dorothy Must Die one is pretty great.

    Of course I follow her blog! But I’m so behind on blog reading it’s not even funny. Alas.

    • Adam Silvera Aug 29 2014 at 9:42 am #

      YES! I love the Dorothy Must Die fauxto so much! The model (blogger at Alexa Loves Books) plays Dorothy’s/Amy’s legs convincingly. Tough role 😉

  3. Leanda Wallace Aug 29 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    I love this! I’m inspired to run out now and take some book-themed pics(with my crappy little digital camera…). And I thought Margot looked familiar- I just watched one of her ARC party videos last night. Lots of fun!

    • Adam Silvera Aug 30 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Yes! Margot is EPIC in all arenas of her life, community managing and fauxtography!

  4. Wendy Darling Aug 29 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    Looooove it. And unexpected, as always. <3

    • Adam Silvera Aug 30 2014 at 10:56 am #

      YAY! It’s so good. And gold. GOLD. GOOD. GOOD. GOLD.

  5. Krispy Aug 29 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    I think one of the first Fauxtos I saw was the Divergent one, and I just thought the idea was so brilliant. I’ve been loving the series ever since. The Code Name Verity is my favorite, though Sabriel is a close second. It’s like Margot says, they seem like there are stories in the photos themselves, not to mention the mood is just perfect.

    Speaking of, Margot, you seriously have to find some way to make these into prints. I want them to decorate my blank walls. 😉

    • Adam Silvera Aug 30 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Yes! We definitely need prints.


  6. Stacey Campbell Aug 30 2014 at 3:29 am #

    Wow!!! These are amazing, love Dorothy must die! Nailed it. This is so cool.

    • Adam Silvera Aug 30 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Yes, and the Dorothy Must Die book is amazing, too!

  7. Kristine N Aug 30 2014 at 5:45 am #

    Holy cow, I love your photography! So much awesome. I haven’t read at least 3/4 of the books you’ve done fauxtos for, and now I want to read them all. Great photos, and great advertising

    • Adam Silvera Aug 30 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Yes, Margot’s fauxtos get me excited to read certain books, too!

  8. Margot Sep 2 2014 at 10:00 am #

    Oh hey, that’s me! I just wanted to thank Adam Silvera for giving me this awesome opportunity and thank everyone for their support in my fauxto series. I didn’t mention this above, but I really wouldn’t continue with this series if it wasn’t for all the recommendations and suggestions I get from people on the blog and Twitter and Facebook and everywhere. I am so in love with the YA book community and it’s really an honor to be able to contribute to it in some way.

Leave a Reply to Sarah (appifanie) Click here to cancel reply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.