Steampunk style is informed by the aesthetics of steampunk literature. That, to me, basically means an attempt to create a modern or futuristic object using industrial techniques and styles (Victorian era from 1837-1901). Often, this might be only partially successful, or would appear rather awkward, like an arm gun on a robot being a mini-cannon mounted on the wrist. It fits the definition of steampunk well, where the “steam” refers to the age of steam, and the “punk” refers to rebelling to either balk the steam era style or modify it in a way not typical of the style.
Being a photographer, I then thought, what would photography look like if steampunked? Here’s the theory and example.