The Imaginarium would be nothing without the genuine steampunks that feature in the 450 images that make up the trilogy. For the first time at this year’s Asylum, Gary Nicholls will have his studio setup in the Castle grounds and you will be able to see his creative process as we shoot scenes from the second and third books, live everyday during the festival. If any steampunks want to feature they can come along looking their finest and take part in the live shoots. There will be an opportunity for the audience to influence the story, so if you have book one and thought I want to be in this the marquee in the Castle grounds is the place to head to. In particular we will be shooting some ‘murder’ scenes so please be aware there may be some spoilers!
Gary Nicholls—The Imaginarium – ‘Reality is for people without imagination’ – Talk on Saturday afternoon
The talk is designed to inspire the audience to try new ideas and ignore convention in creating a personal project using the camera as a tool to create images from imagination to realisation.
Gary is the creator and author of The Imaginarium Trilogy—a 450 image fine art story. The whole project is governed by just two words, Imagine and Create. If it can be dreamt, it can be created. ‘Reality is for people without Imagination’ is the title of the talk and Gary’s imagination has no bounds, no journey impossible, no step is a step too far, dark steampunk the order of the day. This talk is about creating an imaginative steampunk image, when you have no imagination to call upon. Budding creative’s, this will give you an insight into the mind of a man the world thinks smokes skittles!
I thought you may like this as the Asylum Festival is such a huge event in Lincoln, taking over the whole city, attracting over 120,000 people last year and will be back again in August.
Gary Nicholls is one of the UK’s top steampunk conceptual photographers and one of the highlights of the festival, with his work attracting people from across the world. Gary has featured on Sky News as well as various radio shows and is one of the leading lights for a movement whose dedicated fans stretch around the world. It was actually Gary’s visit to the festival a few years ago that sparked the theme for this unique and now worldwide recognised project ‘The Imaginarium’, http://g-n-p.co.uk/ a 450 image trilogy involving over 150 steampunks. Not since Hogarth has such a fine art book been created in this way and now it has developed into this artwork, Dickens in style, steampunk in theme.
Book II of the Trilogy will be out soon, so there will be a great deal of excitement about this too. All of Gary’s images are inspired by people and locations and Lincolnshire is naturally a favourite – with the Newark Town Hall ballroom used for one of his stunning images
Meticulously crafted by photographer Gary Nicholls, The Imaginarium tells an intricate, fantastical and ultimately beautiful steampunk story through the unique medium of fine art images. Years in the making, Nicholls’ creation is so much more than just a book – it’s an adventure through the power of art that tells an enthralling, powerful story readers won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Gary was initially inspired to begin this journey from an image he saw in Photoshop Magazine in 2012. Having honed his skills from the earliest days of his career in a photographic society with his first Digital SLR camera, a Canon 450, Gary’s skills have continued to grow, fuelled by an incredibly fertile imagination. In 2012 Gary went to Lincoln’s Asylum Steampunk Festival and it was here that Gary found his cast and the inspiration for his characters.
“From thereon in, there were a lot of late night phone calls, secret Facebook groups, clandestine meetings, trips to New York, clambering through old buildings…’
The Imaginarium (Eva’s Story)
“The Imaginarium” tells the tale of fictional character Eva and her journey from ruination to salvation, saving the world from a powerful nemesis, told in a series of Fine Art Photographic images. This fantastical story is told in The Imaginarium, book one of a trilogy containing over 150 fine art images. The tale includes a cast of over 150-real steampunks, whose amazing costumes have all been carefully designed and created by talented seamstresses. Not only is the fashion important within the story but the gadgets included in the scenes have also been uniquely created and designed by master craftsman, Peter Walton. Some of these pieces have taken over 10 months to design and make, with pieces such as the hand and orb costing over £12,000. The first volume in “The Imaginarium Trilogy”, is entitled ‘Eva’s Story’ and Gary is currently working on the second, entitled ‘Robbie Pertwee’.
Gary Nicholls’ Photography
Each image has taken between 100-350 hours to produce, with the street scene taking over 600 hours. Nicholls’ utilises a layering technique harking back to the old masters, with not only these skills but also his meticulous attention to the vital details of shadows and light, influenced greatly by artists such as Caravaggio. “All images are completely formed in my mind before I set about picking up my camera,” says Gary. Nicholls prints the final image on large metal sheets to enhance the depth and luminosity of his stunning photography.
The influence of old masters’ techniques, such as Caravaggio, Hogarth and Rembrandt, are apparent throughout his work as he builds layers of detail from multiple photographs taken personally from locations as diverse as New York City, London, Barcelona, Cambodia, Poland, Kefalonia and Portugal.
His exacting search for locations to create these images is paramount in creating the final images. “If I cannot find the exact location, I build one in photoshop from different elements of the places I have visited and photographed… the street scene is made up buildings all over the UK, from Leamington to London.”
“The key to my imagery is lighting. Caravaggio was a master at telling a story through light, all with just a paintbrush. I studied his images to understand the different effects lighting can have, to create mood. I then watched period dramas to understand how to create a cinematographic look to the finished image. First step is the studio, where I have control over the lighting. I particularly like edge lighting as it creates mood, so I often use a 3-light setup. Some of the more portrait type images have been created using ring flash, but it would depend on the end result I am looking for as to the starting method.”
Three of his original composite images were chosen for an exhibition in New York City and Miami and has had an iconic Image in an exhibition in the Louvre. In 2014 he had his first major exhibition of 26 prints in London.