is it a bird, is it a plane, no it’s a steampunk

Visiting a friend for a couple of days back in August, we happened to inadvertently drop into Lincoln in the middle of the city’s steampunk festival.

I’d heard the term “Steampunk” before, but really only had a vague understanding of what it meant. I had no idea that it was such a big movement, and how much effort folk put into being steampunks. And how serious they are about it, and how much fun they obviously have with it.

For those who don’t know, steampunk is a creative style melding Neo-Victorian fashion and technology with science fiction to produce a retro-futuristic aesthetic. Jules Verne could never have imagined how his influence would play out in the 21st century. (Note: this is my interpretation, not a definitive description).

In terms of photographic subject matter, the steampunk style and it’s denizens are extraordinarily photogenic, and here’s where my crippling lack of confidence in photographing people in any setting really bites.

In fairness, I went to Lincoln to snap the cathedral, which is far more comfortably within my oeuvre, so being presented with thousands of folk promenading in their finery was a little overwhelming. But why, oh why did I not take advantage. I had the x-pro 2 in my hand, a camera that could have been built for such a day, and all these people expecting to have lenses pointed at them. Means, motive, opportunity… and regret.

Again, I’m minded to think it’s the abundance of visual information that I struggle with. I like a simple, uncluttered composition, pared down to just a few important elements, and that’s hard to find in those situations.

I did manage a couple of shots that pleased me. This one, for example, ably demonstrates what I mean about simplifying the composition. I spotted this chap away from the crowd, looking splendid in his red tunic, showing just why the colour red is such a strong compositional tool.

pith guy – lincoln steampunk

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