All posts by Rostov

What to do about Steampunk Weapons

Examples of amazing steampunk weapons

We accept and recognise that fantastic steampunk weapons are a big part of the steampunk genre and we are always delighted and amazed by the creativity involved in people’s accessories – of all kinds.

Please note however that we do not condone, encourage or want you to break the law in any way, shape or form and advise you most strongly to ensure that you carry, wear and display any weaponry in an acceptable and safe way.

We suggest that all weapons are transported to and from the event in a suitable bag, case or cover. When not in use we advise you to lock your weaponry in your car/accommodation etc. Please be aware that even replica weapons can cause alarm in a public place and take care to display them only when and where appropriate.

Large steampunk weapons

We apologise but would ask that you do not wear large live role play/latex type weapons (e.g. swords and axes) as part of your outfit. You may be asked to return these to your vehicle/accommodation. This is due to access issues primarily. Very large items can cause accidents in busy areas or in enclosed spaces.

The Empire Ball

We ask that no weapons at all be brought to the Empire Ball. This is a social event and weaponry would be inappropriate. The best place for displaying weaponry is during the day in a wristband only venue. We are also are happy to accept submissions of your steampunk’ed items for The Great Exhibition.

Selling steampunk weapons

Any item for sale must meet UK legal requirements with regards to weapons and replica weapons. We particularly draw your attention to the law with regard to the sale of knives and the Violent Crime Reduction Act as it relates to replica and reproduction weapons and derivatives thereof.

Photographing Steampunks at the Asylum

Photography is popular at the Asylum Steampunk Festival. As a community we are very much aware that photographers find steampunks very photogenic, indeed, camera clubs often organise trips to steampunk events. Whilst the vast majority are respectful and considerate, there always seems to be a few that occasionally fail to follow common courtesy when photographing steampunks.

Photographing steampunks at the Asylum - a portrait of Robert RankinIn this post we are going to look at some guidelines to help steampunks who find photography sometimes a little intrusive, and offer some recommendations for dealing with photographers.

If you are a photographer coming to the Asylum Steampunk Festival, then we hope you will read this post to get an appreciation of how to approach steampunks when wanting to take a photograph, and we offer a few simple guidelines to get the best out of any photo opportunities.

And then, of course, there are a number of you attending the Asylum who are both steampunks and photographers!

Photography in the Street

If you are on the streets of Lincoln, photographers can take a photograph of you without consent. You have no legal right not to be photographed. A lot of paparazzi style photography is done in this way, using long lenses and often taking photos while the recipient is unaware to try and capture that candid moment.

If you spot a photographer taking candid shots of you on the street, then you can approach them and ask them politely to remove any images you are in – explaining that you don’t want to be photographed. Whether the photographer complies with your request will be up to the individual. We suggest keeping it polite rather than insisting that they delete your image. Photographing steampunks at the Asylum - LM CookeThe photographer doesn’t have to do it if you are on the public highway, but if you are civil then they may be more amenable to removing any images that you deem to be unsuitable.

Photographing children is a completely different matter and I would urge you to look up relevant legislation if you are going to have kids with you. The NSPCC also have some good guidance on this.


Photography in the Castle

If you are in the Castle grounds, it is not on the public highway, so different rules apply, you are well within your rights to ask for photos to be deleted. Photographers should ask prior to taking any photos of you or your party.

If you do not want your photo taken then a simple ‘no thank you’ should suffice.

If they are insistent and continue to take photos, turn your back on them. Don’t give them an opportunity. You can mention the Protection From Harassment Act 1997. If you continue to feel harassed by a photographer, try to find an official from the Castle or an Asylum steward. Photographer’s who are harassing members of the public (steampunks or otherwise) can be asked to leave the area.

Consent when photographing steampunks

We do know that for many steampunks being photographed in their awesome outfits is something they enjoy and they will happily pose for photos. So if you don’t mind your photo being taken, when a photographer approaches you, ask for their business card and also what Photographing steampunks at the Asylum - Professor Elementalthey are planning on doing with the images afterwards. Remember, that if they are going to be selling the photo, then you are effectively an unpaid model. Once you’ve given your consent, they can pretty much do with it what they like. Always exchange details before any photos are taken.

Professional photographers and press photographers may ask you to sign a consent form and take some details from you – again this is entirely voluntary, and always read any forms before you sign.

Some basic safety precautions.

Don’t be led away from your party alone. If the photographer wants to take photos with a more photogenic backdrop, take someone with you.

The session is over when you say it is. If you become uncomfortable at any time, just tell them that you need to get back to the festival. Remember to always be safe!

A Guide for Photographers

We understand you want to get that one perfect shot, but you won’t achieve that with reluctant models and a hostile community. It’s quite simple – be polite and respect a person’s wishes.

Many steampunks love being photographed – but many do not. Many like the attention; but again, an equal number find it annoying. Most steampunks dress the way they do for fun, because they enjoy it, and not to be photographed. Steampunk is very inclusive and there are members of our steampunk community who find social situations difficult and are not comfortable with too much attention.

As long as you ask politely, those who are inclined to let you photograph them will most likely do so, and those who refuse should not be offended.

Please remember when photographing steampunks, they are not  paid models, you do not get to order them around just to get the right angle.

  • Do ask politely
  • Do explain what the images will be used for and offer contact details
  • Respect the individual’s wishes
  • Remember steampunks are not paid models
  •  “No” means no

There are some fantastic photo opportunities offered by the festival, and if you are polite and respectful, that will continue to be the case. Buying a Festival Wristband will allow you into the different venues and you will be supporting the Asylum Steampunk Festival so it continues to be a spectacle worth photographing.

Lastly, it’s a steampunk festival – why not consider becoming part of the community yourself!

Photographing steampunks at the Asylum - The Morgan Family

What is Steampunk?

Well to begin with let’s clear up the name. “Steampunk” started as a joke. There was a movement in science fiction to write in a genre known as “Cyberpunk”. When various writers began exploring similar concepts and ideas but setting them in a pseudo Victorian world the term steampunk was jokingly coined. The name stuck but even steampunks are constantly debating “well what is steampunk?” Like all communities however steampunk has grown and developed a life of its own.

More SteampunksA Diverse Community

Steampunk now encompasses a wide variety of input from a highly creative and artistic community. It includes writers, musicians, dancers, sculptors, model makers, costume makers and a host of other disciplines and skills.  It has been summed up as; “Well can you imagine what things would be like if the Great Exhibition had never finished?”

Traditional Values

Two SteampunksSteampunks try to take some of the very best parts of the past and make them part of a bright future.  We value good manners and polite conduct and try to encourage this by setting an example for others. We think things should be made to a high quality and to last thus helping the environment. We value and encourage creativity and have been asked to collaborate in educational and arts projects across the country.


Steampunmk Catwoman and BatmanSteampunk :  All-inclusive

Whilst things are set in a pseudo-historical world which harks back to our Victorian heritage we do not promote any of the inequalities of that past. Indeed ours is deliberately an all inclusive community. You will find steampunks of all ages, genders, abilities and ethnic backgrounds. We also come from all walks of life from students to academics and from comedians to solicitors.

Polite Rebels!

Can you still call it steam-PUNK?  Punk in the seventies was a rebellion against contemporary society.  We are most definitely rebelling but we are making a stand against: throwaway society, poor manners and antisocial behaviour, homogenisation and commercialism.  More SteampunksWe are punks who are polite, friendly, care about the environment and the past and encourage creativity.

The DIY ethic is very strong in steampunk. With creativity being the main common denominator this is hardly surprising. It also fits in with our philosophy on sustainability, durability and craftsmanship. It is more environmentally friendly to take an object and repurpose it giving it a whole new lease of life than to recycle it.

Steampunk with WingsSteampunk : A Maker Culture

Steampunks often make or modify everyday objects to fit the neo-Victorian aesthetic. This could be making a wood and brass cabinet for your PC or a mock raygun suitable for an adventure with Jules Verne.

Steampunk started as a science fiction genre but it is now a community and has its own fashions, music and tastes. We are a community that enjoys socialising, often dressing in distinctive steampunk fashions. We visit historical sites as well as enjoying music gigs and performances.

Two more steampunksWith a Warm Welcome to Newcomers

We welcome the “Steam-curious” – say hello, ask questions – there are no barriers to steampunk – and frighteningly for some, no rules about what exactly steampunk is.

For many of us, two words have come to sum up what we aspire to as a steampunk community; Be Splendid!