First, as an aside, let me – Steve Stern – make a few comments. I have been to Burning Man twice, in an unofficial capacity, let's say. I think it was eighteen and sixteen years ago. The first time was when we were taking some friends to the Black Rock playa and unexpectedly ran into Burning Man. The second time was when we bailed out of a camping trip in Yosemite – because of a forest fire – and then said What the hell, let's go to the Black Rock and check out Burning Man.
I was blown away by the pageantry and ritual of it and – I am sort of embarrassed to say – I have never been back. Kirk sent some pictures to his brother, Mike Moore, who then passed a couple on to me and – circuitously – I asked Kirk to put some of his pictures here. Check out his website, he is a suburb photographer, especially if you like travel photography. End aside.
Burning Man 2010
After years of procrastination I finally got to Burning Man. I credit three buddies who talked me into it by renting an RV. Thanks, guys…definitely worth it.
Burning Man? Difficult to describe.
Try to imagine a juried art exhibition on steroids, Time Bandits, Mad Max, Woodstock, and Star Wars all mixed up and plopped down on a remote desert with 50,000 campers for a week. It’s art, partying, music, creativity, freedom, community, and whatever you want it to be, with the vast playa as your canvas. It met and exceeded all my expectations.
As a photographer, Burning Man was a treasure trove of imagery. I was visually attracted to everything…but especially to the juxtaposition of the harsh, arid, and boundless Black Rock Desert with the art projects (some funded by honorariums, most self-funded). The pristine desolation made for a uncommon but appropriate backdrop.
Add to that the DMV (Dept of Mutant Vehicles),
the dress code (none whatsoever),
the 24/7 techno music, and the inevitable dust storms…there was a myriad of photographic subjects, all day and all night long. I don’t want to jam up Steve’s Blog, so this is just a taste of what it was like.
For more info…check out their website: http://www.burningman.com/
For a historical timeline: http://www.burningman.com/whatisburningman/about_burningman/bm_timeline.html