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airship (Medium)

The highly anticipated book #1 of the Imaginarium steampunk art trilogy

by British fine art Photographic artist Gary Nicholls

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Testimonials for Book 1

Thank you Gary, for creating something so unique & giving me the opportunity to own my

copy of it... Oh, that new book smell! - Maurice Mills - Olympic Volunteer

It's brilliant, well pleased mate! - Bob Long - Photographer

It looks incredible. It smells so good too and is a joy to touch/caress!

Your images are stunning, and the quality of the plates knocked me out - Chris B

My book was delivered this afternoon. It's fantastic, thanks!! - Melissa Drewy

Just wanted to say that I received the book today and it is BEAUTIFUL.

Received The Book today thanks, it's just amazing, the quality is awesome and I mean

AWESOME! So glad I followed your project and this incredible journey you have undertaken

Thanks again and am looking forward to the next book. Well done. 🙂 Kelvin

Congratulations on all your efforts to produce something everyone who has

purchased it will really enjoy and appreciate – forever! - Annette Bhalla

Thank you again for producing such a wonderful book - Matthew Sharp

I had the enormous pleasure of reading my copy of your incredible book from

cover to cover today.The quality of the printing is superb and the story captivating.

your attention to detail is extraordinary and I know I will look at and read this

over and over again. - Guy Sawle

Fantastic, just so fantastic – Christopher Simpson

Blown away by the book Gary! Phenomenal talent and amazing photography!

As for the book and Bill never expected something as fantastic as this.

The quality left us speechless _ Ruth Abraham

OMG OMG OMG!!! I have my book today! So excited!!! – Marie Cage

Squee!! Got my book!! Haven't had time to read much of it yet,

but the bit I have read is fab! Thank you for sharing your imagination

and talent in such a stunning way. – Helen Simister

Myself and William Kirby got ours yesterday. Amazing work and the book is so

beautiful. We're keeping ours in the tissue and bubble wrap when we aren't reading

it as we don't want any damage to it at all – Jude Hale

this evening and I've just finished it.. I'm just blown away! Gary, you and the team

My book arrived today. I sat at the dining table and read it from cover to cover

have created a masterpiece – Katie Middleton West

My lovely book arrived today and all I can say is Love It, Love It, Love It. – Chris Crook

Knew it was going to be good but waaaaaay surpassed my expectations! – Richard Dyer

Looking forward to book 2 already! Thank you for a wonderful book– Louise Lightfoot

Gary, just to let you know, the book has arrived and it's fantastic. The difficulty is that

I want to read through it cover to cover, but it's so immaculate that I get palpitations if

I handle the pages. – Wayne Matthews

Fabulous, simply fabulous. Thank you. – Janet Hope

The Imaginarium Trilogy, began in September 2012, by chance.

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.

Behind the Scenes

The Imaginarium Series

The Imaginarium Book 1 consists of over 150 elaborately created images created over a period of 4 years. The characters are all genuine steampunks, and the costumes and props, hand made for the story.

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 in.

Some of the 150 images in the first book feature props created by Peter Walton, who plays Dr William. The world that Gary has created, does exist (in his mind). 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.

Book 1 - Eva's Story Synopsis:

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.

The Conspiracy Begins

The secret in the box in the above picture, weaves its way through the entire trilogy. The main character, Dr William, is aided throughout by two Steampunk time travelling ‘Angels’.

Angels over New York

From wickedness, treachery, secrets and murder, the plot twists and turns, each character having their own story that builds into the final sections where all is revealed. With 36 characters, no main character in the story is who they seem, each having a past that is about to catch up with them. The final scenes have a powerful end, leading to book number 2 (Robbie Pertwee – Frankensteam) in what will be a trilogy.

The Nemesis is Born

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.

Friends with Attitude

This book has been a huge production with 36 characters and 150 extras. All are genuine steampunks! Gary is self-publishing in order to ensure his images are presented in the best possible way, with each image in the book UV varnished to make them ‘pop’. Another 6 years work will see two more volumes that will be equally as intricate and detailed. Gary has covered a lot of the planet in order to take images to inspire his creations,and each one can take up to eleven months to create. Here’s a little hint to the future – designed to fire up the imagination, think how amazing it was the first time you saw the epic battle scenes in Lord of the Rings. That awe-inspiring moment when the camera shows the sheer magnitude of people that go to battle in ancient times. Well, in the last book, Gary plans to photograph over 4,000 steampunks from all over the world and integrate them all together into one ground-breaking epic piece of art reminiscent of that battle scene. By backing this first volume, you will be helping make that a reality.

How and Why did this start?

A six image hobby collection grew into a 450 image trilogy, with Steampunks from all over the world becoming involved. The biggest influence on Gary’s early life was his father. His big passion – hobbies, and at every opportunity he had Gary and his brother trying everything! So it is no surprise that Gary became interested in photography at an early age, (in the darkroom at the age of 3!) Gary’s father is a part time artist, very creative and talented and has always pushed his sons to continue having hobbies. So very much later in life, Gary is finally getting to be creative with photography again. This project is for his father, Bob, to know that his son carried on that artistic and creative side, which is his legacy.

The Interrogation

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.

Inspiration can come from a song, a costume or just how someone looks. The Asylum, Europe’s largest steampunk festival held every year in Lincoln, UK, is where it all started. A chance visit and he had found the theme he was looking for.

Some of The Lincoln Steampunk Society feature in the images

The idea of ‘The Imaginarium’ was born from that visit, and the fantastic group of people that form ‘the cast’. Late night phone calls, secret facebook groups, clandestine meetings, trips to New York, Poland, Greece; clambering through old buildings, jumping out of the car camera in hand, because he had spotted just the right tree. Hours of work by the genius that is Pete, designing and making the Necessitti and that was just the start of what has become a life changing experience.

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 Imaginarium Book 1 Eva’s Story

From the very beginning The Imaginariun Trilogy has always been intended as a book to prove you are never too old to realise your dreams. This is not a graphic novel, it is a story told with the aid of fine art images, where the reader will interpret the story with the text as a guide. In the years it has taken to produce the project, the story has been the most important aspect, one that has taken a great deal of consideration. The idea of using art to tell a tale is not new, after all, William Hogarth did it in the 18th Century!

The Imaginarium has evolved organically and for this reason, despite being offered publishing contracts, Gary has chosen to self-publish the Imaginarium book in a manner that will fully reflect the attention to detail that is so key to his work. His sense of responsibility in producing something truly special, has been inspired by his close relationship with his international fan base. This sense of responsibility and the desire to produce a memorable piece of work led to a collaboration with Tim Griffiths, of Inkwell services. Used to producing high end work, Tim and his layout designer Joanna Legge, are excited to be helping to produce this book.

The Book

The Imaginarium, Eva’s Story  is a First Edition book. The production is entirely British overseen personally by Gary. The only way for the public to own a first edition copy is via this website or at an exhibition. It will not be available in any stores, as it is a unique numbered book.

Book design, with silver embossed 1, cloth cover with leather type frame (mock up, the finished book may differ slightly)
The imaginarium will be available in 3 different editions (design mock up)


  • 300 x 300mm (paper size)
  • 180 pages (at design stage), including 4 large gatefold spreads (fold out sections, equal to 3 single pages).
  • Photographs to be printed on high quality matt laminate paper, finished with a spot UV varnish
  • Real cloth covered hardback, embossed cover + foil stamping.
  • Round sewn spine with foil stamping + ribbon marker.
  • This will be the first edition run.

The first 1000 copies will be signed and numbered by Gary

The imaginarium will be available in 3 different editions (design mock up)

Shipping and Delivery Dates

The first edition run is shipped and delivered to UK addresses via insured carrier. We will also ship worldwide, but this will take longer to arrive depending on the location. International Shipping costs: these will be added to your order, and will vary depending on destination. Please note that this is a very large book weighing over 2.5kg but we have tried to keep our shipping costs as low as possible. The Metal prints come in a large double box, and are packed accordingly -Please note that if the delivery destination of your order is outside of the European Community, your order may be subject to import duties and taxes which are applied when your order reaches that destination. We have no control over these charges and you will be responsible for payment if they occur.