I like interesting events. Even better if I have my camera with me and I am one of the Official Photographers. In December 2013 I applied to be one of these for the WWWC3, better known as the Steampunk Con (convention) at Old Tucson Studios. A better location could not have been found for this event.
What is Steampunk you ask? I was familiar with the look but not savvy with what it was really about. After some online research I had a better understanding of this community. But you can never really know until you are in the midst of it. Steampunk is a fantasy based community where folks create characters. These characters are based on Jules Verne, Orson Wells, Wild Wild West and Artemus Gordon. A retro modern western look with technology based on a “time” where internal combustion failed and all things had to be powered by steam. Base your look on western ware and in a Victorian time frame. Throw in a bit of Star Trek and Dr. Who and you have Steampunk. A live version of the role playing fantasy games. You get to be who you want. Inside of this are distinct groups and rivalries. Air, Sea and Land. The good guys and bad moving through time. The law keepers chasing them. Airships, bionic arms, unique weapons (no working) and goggles abound. Famous and well know folks within the community glide through the set, give talks and share photo opps.
But don’t try to hem in folks in or confine their look and character. A sticker going around at the Con said: “It ain’t Steampunk, to say that’s not Steampunk”.
So much for your short lesson. I was intrigued by the costumes. So Faith, as my photography assistant, and I headed for Tucson and the old movie set called Old Tucson Studios for 3 days of shooting. One portable soft box on a pole, a speed-light and lots of memory cards. My task was to capture the flavor of the events I was assigned to as well as some wandering time to capture what I could find.
Our first event was a talk on creating your character with Professor Elemental, a Brit who makes positive rape music while wearing a pith helmet and John Strangeway, AKA Boba Fett, a cross between Star Wars and a kilt wearing Steampunk man. They were fun and entertaining.
We covered talks on Steampunk Weapons by the Brose Brothers (really nice guys) as well as the Fashion Show and the Grand Concert on Saturday night. Three bands, The Cog is Dead, Steam Powered Giraffe and Professor Elemental.
The one thing we came away with was how great and friendly a community of people they are. They have fun. Whole families participate. It is unique, but not unlike any group of people who gather around something they are interested in. They come from all walks of life and all age groups. They take having fun seriously.
Below are a few images from the event. I hope I get to go again or attend other events. The characters are memorable and unique. I am glad we had a glimpse into this new world to us.