I met Gary Nicholls at the last MCM comic con (October 2015) where I was introduced to his fine art photography, which portray a steampunk inspired story about a young woman called Eva. In essence, the images show avant garde Victorian fashion, mechanical genius, heroism, villainy and adventure in a unique world. All these images have been arranged in book one of The Imaginarium: Eva’s Story.
The Imaginarium is symbolic for the steampunk community because it has engaged so many of its members. Gary has said that 4000 steampunkers from around the world will be involved, by the end of the trilogy. The project has partly aimed to capture creative elements which can be imagined as part of the steampunk genre. There is no single definition for the genre, but it could be described a movement which couples cyberpunk and traditionalist Victorian themes.
Further to this, Gary has described Eva’s story as dark and layered with mystery, like a Dickens-style tale. Text will accompany pictures and he has assured that the story is entirely open to the reader’s interpretation. The story book can be admired as a collection of fine art images rather than a graphic novel with continual written dialogue. The reader can infer what is and isn’t said and find their own understanding of relationships which present themselves.
Thus far, Gary has produced prints on metal which feature scenes from the first book. All these are limited editions, as only 7 prints are produced for each image in the book. He has travelled up and down the country and abroad to photograph scenery which best fits the story he has in mind. Gary has treated his photographs as canvases and has worked with each of these to introduce steampunk themes, whether it be time-travelling angels, airships or clockwork mastery. In turn, he has provided a lens through which an alternative reality can be seen.
Feel free to read my interview with Gary to find out more about The Imagianrium project: