Steampunk is a curious aesthetic, an unlikely mix of seemingly incompatible frames of reference. Inspired by science fiction and informed by 19th-century industrial machinery, it’s part Victorian England, part wild west Americana, and part 21st-century nostalgia. It seems to be everywhere now, from fashion runways and design houses to artist collectives and Makers Faires.

I never set out to focus on the phenomenon per se, but hanging out with artists, engineers, sculptors, builders, designers, and other creative types, and carrying a camera, has meant that I’ve been on hand to document some great steampunk projects.

My photographs have been exhibited at two recent shows — the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’s exhibition Steampunk: The Exquisite Adventure and the San Diego Automotive Museum’s show Steam Punk. A handful are also included in a new book, Steampunk, by German author, curator, collector, and steampunk aficionado Dan Aetherman.

The Nautilus by Sean Orlando and Christopher Bently at Burning Man 2011 (Photo by Scott London)
Steampunk performer at the Solstice Celebration in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Scott London)