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Obtainium Works in Pictures

The art group’s in-house photographer shares his images from Burning Man and other events

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Editor’s note: Obtainium Works, the group behind the Neverwas Haul and many other mobile contraptions, is one of the premier arts organizations in the steampunk world. If you attend an event where they have a presence — be it Burning Man, the Mad Hatter Parade, or the Obtainium Cup Contraptor’s Rally — chances are that you’ll see Stephen Jacobson with camera in hand, capturing their antics for posterity. A professional photographer, he’s based in Vallejo, California, where Obtainium Works also makes its home.

Steve Jacobson

The 8th annual Obtainium Cup Contraptor’s Rally is happening on Sunday, July 28 in Vallejo, and with that in mind we asked him to share some of his wonderful photos.

For the uninitiated, Neverwas Haul is a three-story Victorian house on wheels that’s become a steampunk icon. It flies the flag of the Hibernian Steam Empire, part of an alternate reality in which Ireland is a world power and its Ministry of Insanity explores the frontier in steam-powered vehicles. The house is usually anchored at the Obtainium Works studio in Vallejo, but this year it’s on loan to the Lyft Art Park in downtown Las Vegas.

The Contraptor’s Rally features a fleet of wacky mobile contraptions that navigate an obstacle course with flying monkeys, robots, zombies, and Alice in Wonderland characters. It begins on Sunday at 11 a.m. with a steampunk festival. The rally itself begins at 3 p.m. It’s held at Alden Park, at the corner of 8th and Walnut Streets on Vallejo’s Mare Island. The city is about 30 miles north of San Francisco and Oakland.

See the Obtainium Works website for more info about the rally. Also see our report and photo gallery from last year’s event.

Below you will find a small sampling of Stephen’s photos from Burning Man as well as the 2016 Contraptor’s Rally and other events. You can find more — lots more — on his website. (Be forewarned that his Burning Man albums include some nudity and other NSFW photography. It is Burning Man, after all. The scenes below are rated PG.)

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