It’s always a cool sight: people dressed in Victorian clothing with a twist of mechanics involved. Welding goggles, clock mechanisms, and other older mechanical devices thrown in.
Although the term Steampunk was coined in the 1980s, it began as a genre of science fiction in the 60s and 70s. However, recently it has grown beyond books into a lifestyle. It the mixing of old and new.
The old Victorian style mixed with the mechanical. But whatever it is, it’s pretty damned cool looking. Now to be honest, I’m and old school punk rocker. Yes, I had a black mohawk at one time, slam danced, lived on the edge, and just generally had a great time. So be honest, styles like this are cool to me and just plain fun.
On Saturday July 19, 2014, the Fairhaven Steampunk Festival was held at the Fairhaven Village Green downtown. Hundreds came to see what Steampunk was all about and some came dressed to the nines. It was my Saturday assignment for The Bellingham Herald.
Waiting For Rain:
The full title for the festival is the Fairhaven Steampunk Festival Mr. Flip’s Carnival of Wonders & Curiosities.
The festival began with gray skies and a slight drizzle. As festival goers tested wares for sale, nibbled on food offerings, and checked out the costumed, the skies began to open. For half an hour it rained pretty well. But once the rain stopped, the festivities continued.
As walked around and checked out the wares, I looked for unique angles to photograph them. But some of the booths were so busy it was hard to get in them.
Watching scenes unfold such as the epic sword battle between Skull Shaw and Trevor Jones, the immaculate costume with working wings of Shell Philhower, a pair of Steampunk’d bikes, a unique umbrella by Valerie Snelling and the meeting of old friends.
The most fun event was the costume contest. Some were very elaborate undertakings such as Philhower’s winged costume, others simply elegant.
But many of them spectacular in their own way. One gentleman, who called himself “Mr. Fixit,” had every conceivable tool on him.
During the contest, Shell Philhower walked onto stage. She created a set of beautiful wings which worked when she pulled on a string. I was looking for something that showed the contestants and crowd, so I go to the back of the stage and shot forward. As she walked across, I was hoping she turned to the crowd and lifted her wings high.
During the contest, I saw a man trying to take photos while holding two different cameras. From the side it looked good, but as I moved around in front of him I could see a better composition. Dropping to one knee, I liked how his arms and cameras framed his face. Once I found the composition I liked, I just waited for a good expression.
During the contest, the announcer was wearing a stunning pair of golden boots. For the sun to come out and the perfect time, it was when I saw these boots in contrast to the brown and black everyone on stage was wearing. So I focused on those and shot a few while using a shallow depth of field to make them pop even more from the background.
While photographing, I had a few images in mind. One was a good “dominant foreground, contributing background” composed image. Really didn’t see this one coming together as I walked around. But I kept my eye peeled and camera ready.
That moment kinda arrived while I was shooting the Umbrella Lady Valerie Snelling. As I was photographing her, Jim “Dirty Dan” Rich saw one of his old friends. With a big smile on his face he greeted Ginger James, who went by her Steampunk name “Queenie.”
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Paul “pablo” Conrad
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