For me there were many special moments this year — little synchronicities and chance meetings on the playa, magical offerings and special gifts from strangers, acts of unexpected kindness and generosity. It was my fourth consecutive year. I set out this time with the intention to participate more fully and to spend less time obsessing about photography. To some extent I was successful. Still, I came home with a shoulder sore from carrying heavy equipment and hands calloused from clutching the cameras.
I shot about 1,700 frames over the course of seven days. Not all of them survived. I lost a flash card with almost a full day's worth of work on it. I'm still grieving about that. Among the images lost were portraits of fashion show contestants, long-exposure shots from Saturday's fire performances, and some captures of the man as he exploded in a massive ball of flame. Like so much art on the playa, my images had vanished by week's end.
The photos in this set represent some of my favorites from those that remain. As in previous years, I've arranged them into a photoessay of 100 images. It was harder to find a narrative structure and flow this time, so the idea of calling it a "photoessay" is probably an indulgence. Suffice it to say these are a handful of personal favorites — attempts to capture something of the spirit, the emotion, and the beauty of this event I love so much.
All images were shot digitally with Canon cameras — a 5D and a 20D — using a variety of lenses, including the 24-70mm f/2.8 L, the 70-200mm f/2.8 L, the 50mm f/1.4, the 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, and the 15mm f/2.8 fisheye. I brought a film camera this year, along with special filters and even some IR film, but it never left my bag.
One of the rewards of having done this for a few years now is getting to know fellow artists and photographers, the ranks of which grows year by year. I spent many hours in conversation with fellow Burning Man photographers — Leo Nash, Hannes Häfele, Pixie, Anthony Peterson, Phil Steele, Gary Stevens, Ron Lewis, Tristan Savatier, Heather "CameraGirl" Gallagher, and others. Wonderful people and great talents. I also spent time with the brilliant French filmmaker Laurent Le Gall whose new Burning Man documentary "Voyage in Utopia" is due for release this fall and who is already at work on a feature-length film about the event.
This set of 100 images is now one of a number of Burning Man galleries on this site. There are separate galleries for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. There is a "Best of" collection in the works, a separate gallery of Burning Man portraits, and some images from the 2006 Decompression in San Francisco. Additional photos not included here can be found in the official Burning Man image gallery. Links at top left.
Quite a number of my photos now appear in print as well — look for Burning Man features in Nevada Magazine, Sierra Magazine, 944, Public Art Review, ADAC Reisemagazin, Néosapiens, File Magazine, and other places. Finally, be sure to follow the links to other Burning Man photographers listed to the left for other perspectives on the event and still more photos.
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