Meticulously crafted by Gary Nicholls, a British photographic conceptual artist, comes the first book of his conceptualised neo-gothic fairy story eponymously based on the Victorian fairground attractions of The Imaginarium.
‘The Imaginarium’ tells an intricate, fantastical, dark but ultimately beautiful steampunk story through the unique medium of fine art images. Four years in the making, Nicholls’ creation is so much more than just a book – it’s an adventure through the power of art that simultaneously tells an epic, powerful story readers will be immersed in from page one.
Rumours abound of spellbinding gadgets that can turn ordinary men into Steampunk Giants. Stainless steel and calico wings that turn mortals, into Winged Angels. Steampunk brass and copper pasties, evil villainy and the Necessitti – a magical, stupendous, leggiadrous object of sheer beauty. Inspired by a visit to The Lincoln Asylum Steampunk Festival in 2012, Gary has created a world of Dickens with gadgets, and oh, the gadgets….Gadgets that can take you to fantasmagorical events, or transport you to a world where the airship is “the only way to travel Dahling!” This is the fantastical story that is book one in The Imaginarium Trilogy and is called Eva’s Story. Victoriana is the order of the day, but then thanks to time travel, anything goes. A costume, a character, a gadget and a convoluted dark tale to confound and entertain the reader. Perhaps ‘hugely complicated and complex’ is a good description, considering the trilogy’s first volume contains thousands of words and over 150 fine art images that have taken years to craft. It’s a rare format for a work of fiction, tied together with a story that Dickens could surely have imagined himself.
All 150 images in the series are created using props created by Peter Walton, who plays Dr William. The world that Gary has created, does exist. The settings for Gary’s images are created using real places, altered to create the steampunk world of The Imaginarium. The enormous effort that has gone into creating these images is a testament to all those creative geniuses involved. Steampunk is a world full of creatives and some of the best have worked on this project.
The Imaginarium is a Dickens style, Steampunk themed story about one woman’s journey from ruination to salvation, saving the world from a powerful nemesis and is told in a series of Fine Art Photographic images. In a Steampunk world of wickedness, betrayal, murder and greed, one lost soul stands out as her saviour.
Drawing on varied and eclectic sources of inspiration, 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, London, Greece and Poland. Gary does not use stock images, and all the props and costumes are real, and hand made.
The Imaginarium is a Dickens style, Steampunk themed Art based story about one woman’s journey from ruination to salvation, saving the world from a powerful nemesis and is told in a series of Fine Art Photographic images. In a Steampunk world of wickedness, betrayal, murder and greed, one lost soul stands out as her saviour.
Gary has always been creative and as an artist, the camera is his brush, allowing him to create this epic story using the medium of photography. Simply put, he is an artist with a camera. The entire story and every image comes straight from his mind. People often say ‘you need to think outside the box’. Well, the reality is that if you think there is a ‘box’ then it is already too late. With Gary, there is no sketching, no planning, it is just ‘there’ in his mind. Gary has exhibited images from The Imaginarium project in London, Lincoln, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, New York and as part of an exhibition in the Louvre, Paris.
The Story of The Imaginarium is told in a series of Fine art images, printed on Aluminium. The reason Gary has chosen to only offer metal prints, is because the luminosity of works by painters such as Rembrandt and Caravaggio, was due to these painters’ practice of applying multiple, thin layers of paint to their canvases. In the same way, the layers of dyes infused into the thick, translucent coating on the aluminum plates give a similar sense of depth and luminosity, often leading viewers to think the images are backlit or that they appear to take on the look of a 4k television screen. If you have seen Gary’s prints in real life, you will know exactly what this means. You feel as though you can almost step into them, and they are certainly a talking point.
Conceptual Photographic Artist