British steampunk photographer exhibition

© Gary Nicholls
© Gary Nicholls

Gary Nichols, a British photographic artist taking the steampunk world by storm, is preparing to release the first tranche of his conceptualised neo-gothic fairy story eponymously based on the Victorian fairground attractions of The Imaginarium. This fantastical tale celebrates the redemption of one woman’s journey from ruination to salvation.

Gary doesn’t just take photographs. He uses photographs to create art. Three of his original composite images have been chosen for an exhibition in New York City (between 25 July and 10 September) while he will be displaying the first chapters of The Imaginarium at “The Asylum” – the largest purely steampunk event in Europe (13-15 September) – in the historic mediaeval city of Lincoln in England. The 60-strong collection of images will ultimately be printed on metal and exhibited on steampunk easels alongside the handmade props and costumes that feature in the storyline.

Drawing on varied and eclectic sources of inspiration such as Joel Grimes, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, Sting and his very own highly talented and creative team, Gary “sees” images that weave themselves organically into an overall story. He then sets about building them in layers from multiple photographs taken personally from locations as diverse as New York City, Barcelona and his own back garden.

The team comprises Julie Walton who gathers the threads from Gary’s imagination and uses those threads to make the costumes while putting her personal spin on them. The props are lovingly handcrafted by Julie’s husband Peter, an electrical engineer by trade, who built The Necessiti, around which the entire story is based. Peter also embellishes Julie’s costumes and has a huge influence on the story’s overall direction. Finally there is Chantelle Quince, the make-up artist. She may be young, but her work is stunning and can take up to four hours for a single shot. With such detail involved in creating The Imaginarium, this long-term project will look spectacular.

Steampunk is a dystopian world that takes a theme and blends it with echoes of the industrial revolution. The term originated in the 1980s as a variant of cyberpunk but has grown into its own identity. As a movement, it is often influenced by the scientific romances of Jules Verne and HG Wells.

Gary is planning a limited edition book of prints with accompanying commentary. This will allow an ever-growing audience to continue to enjoy the labyrinthine mind and talents of this 21st century Mary Shelley or Bram Stoker in his very own version of Gormenghast.

You can see more of Gary and his work by following this link to his website:

Also, take a look on Facebook:

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