2010 marked the 24th anniversary of Burning Man, and it was bigger than ever — attendance shot up to a record 51,000. While the art was not quite up to the standards we had seen in recent years, there were two notable exceptions.
The Temple of Flux was a remarkable art piece that doubled as a shrine and a gathering space. Made entirely of wood, it seemed to rise up organically out of the desert, the curved sides reflecting the ever-shifting patterns of sun and sky. It's what Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall might have looked like if it were built entirely of flat lumber and situated on a flat lake bed in a bone-dry desert.
The other piece was Bliss Dance, an exquisite 40-foot female nude by Bay Area sculptor Marco Cochrane. The installation was perhaps the most talked-about art piece to appear at Burning Man in years, a marvel of loveliness and grace.
It was an all-round good year for photography, despite five days of unremittingly cloudless skies. It was my second year on the documentation team, a small crew of photographers charged with capturing the event for the Burning Man organization. As in previous years, I shot all the images digitally with Canon cameras and a variety of lenses.
Every year the cameras take a beating and every year they perform flawlessly, and that's without any special protection or pampering on my part. I say that because there seems to be a lot of anxiety on the part of some photographers about the harsh conditions on the playa. (For an interesting discussion about this, have a look at the thread on Flickr titled How do you keep your camera from getting dusty at Burning Man? See also this long thread started by Neil Girling aka Mr. Nightshade)
As always, I'm grateful to everyone who posed for me this year or freely consented to let me photograph them. My art, such as it is, would not be possible without that open consent and participation. So thank you.