Gary Nicholls is a photographer trying to convey the narrative of a story through a set of 150 photographs — with 22 currently on display in this exhibition. It’s a story about an orphan who must find her destiny without being thwarted by villainous characters and is ably supported by heroic figures. It may seem like a story that has been told many times within novels or on the big screen, but the unique selling point of this tale is its quirky steampunk style.
Featuring genuine steampunk enthusiasts, these heavily stylised photographs craft an alternate universe featuring glowing metal orbs and mechanised angels. Impressive shots include lightning bolts awakening a villain a la Frankenstein and two angels sat atop a roof with the Empire State building and sky both a deep purple in the background.
It’s not just the style that is captivating as Nicholls is able to successfully convey the intensity and sorrow of featured characters — an impressive feat considering they are masked with only their eyes visible. Props and costumes from the photographs are also on display and these add to the otherworldliness of this exhibition.
This show may have a short run time but the photography is both fun and inventive and well worth a look.
The Imaginarium exhibition is on at Arch Collective, 12 Raymouth Road, SE16 2DB until 21 May. Entrance is free.
For more steampunk designs, see Longitude Punk’d at the Royal Observatory.