[BEHIND THE SCENES] Post apocalyptic photoshoot

The very first “homemade” photoshoot. After looking for locations on the Internet with DrCassbul, we decided to go scouting in the Massif de l’Étoile (the mountain range surrounding Marseille).

Thanks to Google Maps’ satellite view, we got the coordinates of an abandoned house. The map showed a road connecting the town’s 13th borough to the location, but we didn’t know if it could be accessed with a four wheels vehicle. We decided to drive as far as we could and walk the rest of the way. We had to stop 2km (roughly 1.2 mile) away from our destination, which was closer than I had expected.

It was a warm day, and DrCassbul brought his drone to film the area. After a bit of walking, we spotted the house.

Google Map’s (pretty recent satellite) view showed a terrace with a stone railing, which wasn’t there anymore. The house was apparently going to be levelled soon, and the workers had already started. The view was nice though.

As expected, the house was in bad state. Don’t enter buildings with compromised integrity. Or don’t enter abandoned buildings at all, it’s illegal most of the time anyway (AND dangerous). Since this house was out in the open, we considered we weren’t violating property…and given the state of the roof we stayed outside.

When you try to hold your life together.
Drones are useful when you’re trying to take pictures of a roof.
This lovely coffin-shaped water reservoir.

I still took a few pictures of the house from the outside.

But what had caught my interest wasn’t the building in itself, but its surroundings.

There was also this mysterious tanker lost in the bushes.

I wonder what’s the story behind this.

After looking at everything, taking pictures and aerial videos, we walked back.

The goal was to shoot my post-apocalyptic costume there (photos and drone videos), preferably in a gray weather, since the Mediterranean blue sky isn’t exactly menacing. It would just be a bit tricky to carry all the material. We checked the weather forecast and chose a day (I’m self-employed and Scalpa is retired, so our schedules are adaptable, but DrCassbul is still at university, so we had to take his own timetable into consideration).

And…we ended up not shooting there. Basically, the weather was too menacing, and getting stuck in the middle of the hills wasn’t the best idea (and lightning would make it impossible to use the drone). So we changed our plans and went to a more accessible location. It was in a urban area, so using the drone would be forbidden, but at least we could get a few pictures. In the end, it only rained lightly so we could actually have gone to the abandoned house.

I’d like to thank the former Electrical Factory of Allauch for letting us take pictures outside and inside the building. It was built around 1904 to connect the town to the Mediterranean coast electricity network and stop using oil lampposts. It ceased to function in 1960. Nowadays, the building is used for art exhibitions.

The whole pediment reads “Énergie Électrique du Littoral Méditerranéen” (Electrical Energy of the Mediterranean Coast)

The back of the building is interesting as well, with broken glass panels and painted walls.

DrCassbul was behind the camera, and Scalpa was nice enough to throw the dirty rag I call a cape around countless times.

He got so good at this I didn’t even have to edit him out of the picture.

It was DrCassbul’s first photoshoot, and my first time editing pictures as well, so everything is a bit basic…

That’s only a few of them. We came back a few weeks later, but switched roles. My father was wearing the dystopian prosthetic arm I made for a short movie, DrCassbul and I were taking pictures.

If the abandoned house hasn’t been levelled yet, we’d still like to shoot a video there.