For one week per year, an ancient lake-bed filled with alkali dust becomes the third largest city in Nevada. When it’s over, not a speck of debris can be found. It’s the largest Leave No Trace project in the world. Nearly 70,000 people, rich and poor, young and old, straight and gay, heavy and slim, make the journey to the Black Rock Desert in hope of finding something. What they seek depends on the individual, yet nearly all want the freedom to express themselves without the mandates and expectations of the default world.
When I make the journey into the dust, I seek the freedom to dress how I want, view jaw-dropping art, hug strangers, meditate, skip showers, bike through the dust, and eat grilled-cheese sandwiches at 1:00am from a random stand manned by people who simply want to be nice. It frees my creative mind and I leave with added clarity of my values and priorities.
Yes, I’ve read the negative news stories about rich people going to Burning Man and ignoring the principles of the event. I never met any of those people. My guess is they wouldn’t want to crowd us out of our dusty homebuilt yurt. They didn’t impose themselves on us and we didn’t go looking for them. So I’ll leave that debate to others.
I deeply love photography and studied the craft at Crealdé School of Art. Today I want to share some of the images I shot at Burning Man. It was a tough year thanks to days of blowing dust….miserable in fact. However, the wind died down, briefly allowing us to get out with a couple of cameras (Nikon D7000 and GoPro HERO4Session). Something I think you’ll notice is that my images aren’t of model-perfect people. I’m more interested in authentic faces and scenes. These images are more typical of the event as I experienced it. Meanwhile, on the edges of the playa, sparkle ponies strutted it with style…that was their burn, this is mine.