I had the privilege of sitting in on a Steampunk photoshoot recently, and it was a ton of fun to watch Adrienne Paul playing in front of the camera, and helping assemble a number of steamy and spectacular outfits. So of course, I jumped at the chance to interview Maj Jose, the photographer and fellow Steampunk.
How did you get into photography and what do you love about it?
My love for photography started when I was in High School in the year club. As an awkward teen, I learned I could meet people and have them smile when I pointed the camera. The hours spent in the darkroom developing my images and craft gave me a sense of peace and belonging. My camera was my security blanket, I was accepted everywhere.
When did you first discover Steampunk and what is your favorite part about it?
I first discovered SP in the movies. I have always loved old movies set in the Victorian, Art Nouveau , and Art Deco period . I loved the costuming , the light and the scenes. I remember the movie the Time Machine the 1960's version not the 2002 , and how it captivated me and held my attention. I like the simplicity of this complex idea. Time and history could be changed. It's like any science fiction story that our fate is in our hands and our history can be changed. That's my favorite part of SP, role-playing a fantasy. That my images, even though it's for a short period of time, can be reality .
What was your favorite aspect of the Steampunk shoots you've done so far? What is it about SP that inspires you?
Combining my 2 passions , science fiction and my love for antiques. My tired dusty antiques become a living breathing work of art. When one of my wonderful models adopts their persona I am transported back in time and place and it frees my imagination. I also like collaborating with my fellow photographers to use different photography techniques to achieve the look that I envisioned.
Favorite SP accessory?
I can't choose just one accessory! I love them all, from pocket watches, goggles to odd looking machinery with gears and heavy metal!
Favorite SP movies and books?
I'm a visual artist so I love movies, can't pick just one! Wild Wild West, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Around the world in 80 days ( both versions) . Even the 5th Element.
What would you say is your favorite "version" or style of SP? Gritty fighter pilot? Grungy street thief? Romantic, sweeping skirts? Or something altogether different?
I would say something altogether different … I grew up in Toronto during the 80's and that decade has influenced me tremendously! Reading graphic novels by Neil Gaimen, as I hung out on Queen Street ( that's where the old book stores and junk shops were before it became trendy ). Watching movies during the Toronto Film Fest. Back then Punk Rock ruled and seeing someone in biker jackets and a vintage skirt was normal for me. I remember the creativity that surrounds that area. And I want my images to convey that feeling of whimsy with a touch of flare and grit.
Would you consider playing with any of the offshoots of Steampunk? Like Dieselpunk. Clockpunk, Cyberpunk, ect?
How is a SP shoot different than a normal shoot? Does it give you more room to play? Are the shots or models different? Different mindset?
Every session is different because every subject is different. I take the same amount of time prepping for SP shoots and Portrait sessions. However SP and fantasy shoots are my favorite because of the familiarity of the subject. I connect with these creative individuals faster when I am shooting SP and Fantasy sessions. In a word, I have more FUN!
Do you plan on doing more SP shoots in the future? If so, can we have a hint of what's to come? Themes? Ideas?
I plan to have more SP shoots in the near Future . I was thinking of a Christmas card depicting a Steam Punk banquet and tea party . But then again I might incorporate images on a tarot card that's all in Steam Punk…. or maybe Neil Gaiman's character's from the vertigo comics Sandman…. or Baron Munchhausen or …. the possibilities are ENDLESS!