Here are a handful of my photo essays and other projects, most of them works-in-progress. I see my photography as a kind of short-form journalism, a way to tell a story and communicate an idea without using constructs and formulations. What I love most about photography is its intimacy. It speaks to the heart and captures the imagination, but without saying a word.
I've been documenting Burning Man for the past nine years. It's without doubt one of the world's hippest and most mind-blowing gatherings. The event is a week-long celebration of free-form creativity and radical self-expression held each summer in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. Burning Man is hard to describe. It's not quite an art festival, not quite a desert rave, and not quite a social experiment — but something of all three. But why bother trying to describe it when the photos speak for themselves? This slideshow brings together some of the best images from 2004-2012. See also separate photo essays from 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
It's a place of uncommon natural beauty, an inland oasis surrounded by barren and unrelenting desert. But things are not quite what they seem at the Salton Sea. The lake is shrinking. The fish are dying. The birds are ailing. And the once-thriving communities along the shore are mostly abandoned. This photo essay attempts to capture the stark beauty of the place while also documenting the effects of environmental decline and devastation.
Santa Barbara's international film fest, which runs from the end of January through the first week of February, has become one of the better-known festivals of its kind in America and a critical stop for actors on the Oscar trail. The event typically draws about 70,000 people and features some 200 screenings, along with an impressive line-up of tributes, award shows, and panels with industry insiders. But the big stories always revolve around the celebrities, the beautiful people who come to town and, for a few days, transform the place into the epicenter of the entertainment world.
I Madonnari was the name given to street painters in 16th- and 17th-century Italy, itinerant artists who traveled from town to town and city to city rendering images of the Madonna on sidewalks and in public squares. The tradition of street painting lives on in cities across Europe and in a growing number of communities in North America. 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of the I Madonnari Festival in Santa Barbara, California. When it started in 1987, it was the only event of its kind in the United States. Today, the event typically draws 25,000 visitors and renowned artists from across the country. Parts of this photoessay were featured in the Spring 2009 issue of the travel and lifestyle magazine Broughton Quarterly.
California's Gap fire, which raged in the hills above Goleta and Santa Barbara, took top priority among several hundred wild fires burning across the state in July 2008. In just a few days, the blaze consumed over 8,000 acres and cut a swath several miles wide. These images capture something of the awesome force of the blaze on its third day as powerful "sundowner" winds forced the flames down the mountains and spewed thick smoke and ash into the skies above Santa Barbara. (See also my photos from the 2009 Jesusita Fire.)
The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, brought together heads of state, prominent humanitarians, Hollywood celebrities, rock stars, and journalists from around the world. This photoessay captures some of the highlights in words and images. See also my photoessays from the Nobel festivities in 2005 and 2006. (For a slideshow that also includes images from other years, please see Flickr.)
For updates on recent projects, publications, exhibits, and other stuff, check out the photography category of my blog.
© Copyright 2013 by Scott London. All rights reserved.