The Medium Format Photos for Fallout Might Be the Best Set Pictures Ever

A person stands outside a run-down building with a damaged, armored vehicle in the background. They are wearing a rugged, post-apocalyptic outfit with arm and shoulder armor and utility belts. Their clothing and skin are smeared with what appears to be blood.

Movie set photography is often directors with their arms over an actor or a view of the camera crew, but photographer JoJo Whilden’s pictures for Fallout take a different approach.

Whilden’s medium format film photos very much look as if they are part of the Fallout world; an Amazon TV series video game adaption set 200 years after an apocalyptic nuclear exchange.

A person dressed in dark, tattered clothing, with a hat and backpack, stands in a desert-like area near a dilapidated wooden structure. The sky is overcast, and the scene has a post-apocalyptic feel.

The set photographer tells PetaPixel that her decision to shoot on a Hasselblad 500cm camera was very much driven by the overall artistic direction of the show.

“My photo producer at Amazon, Cory Bird, was incredibly supportive about shooting film on Fallout,” Whilden says over email.

“And using the Hasselblad for a more retro portrait-type feel was a no-brainer. The series itself was shot on Kodak film stock, so it was an obvious creative choice to go with Kodak Portra film stock.”

An elderly woman with gray, curly hair, glasses, and rugged clothing holds a rifle while kneeling outside a dilapidated building. She appears alert and cautious. The scene includes an old, rusty metal chair and various worn objects in the background.

A person is wearing an imposing, metallic power armor suit, standing in a scrapyard surrounded by scattered debris, rusty barrels, and large wooden and metal structures. The suit features large shoulder pads, intricate mechanisms, and a helmet with a visor.

Whilden’s photos were shared to the Amazon Prime Video Instagram page with the Kodak Portra 400 border visible and they received considerable attention. Comments urged the studio to “Tag the photographer” and many others praised the photos for their beauty and authenticity.

“I limited myself to a roll a day, which allowed for 10 frames on any given day,” she explains.

“I took my time and involved the actors in composing the photographs, which may be why it feels more like I was a ‘photographer’ character in the world of the show rather than a behind-the-scenes unit photographer.

“I shot some black and white as well, but they have not been released to the public.”

A phrenology skull with labeled sections sits atop a stack of books on a cluttered desk. Nearby, there are folders and a magnifying glass, creating an antique or academic atmosphere.

Part of the Show

Edward Thompson of the Pictures On My Mind YouTube channel says Whilden’s photos “feel like they exist in the same world as Fallout and that’s why they’re brilliant.”

“They don’t break the fourth wall, for the most part, they’re very formal pictures the actors aren’t grinning they’re kind of in-character still, there are some amazing moments.”

A vintage military car with "U.S.A 19422122" marked on its side is stuck in mud. Sandbags are piled on the roof and around the vehicle. The car has a white star painted on the side door. The background features a desolate, flat landscape under an overcast sky.

Fallout is based on a video game and Thompson points out that in the game players are able to craft cameras that look like a 1950s medium format camera.

“That’s why it’s so exciting for me because JoJo wasn’t working as a member of a crew on a film set, it’s like she was a character in Fallout, she was the photographer and her photographs exist in that same world and that’s why it’s so refreshing.”

A person wearing a blue jacket with a "33" emblem, dark sunglasses, and a black beanie stands near a stone structure with "CAMERA" inscribed on it. The sun shines through tree branches, creating a bright and contrasting background.
Whilden wearing a Vault 33 wrap jacket from Fallout.

More of Whilden’s work can be found on her Instagram and website.

Image credits: Photographs by JoJo Whilden.