Some of my photographs are included in a show, opening today, in Santa Rosa, California. The exhibition, “Bringing Back the Fire,” is a celebration of art and community at the annual Burning Man festival. According to the show’s press release, Burning Man “turns part of Black Rock Desert in Nevada into the ‘world’s largest outdoor art gallery’ for one week each August. Much of the art shown on the site is intended to burn — but many pieces survive, to be seen again. This exhibit celebrates some of these, and the community of participants who have created them.” The show runs through March 22, 2008 at the Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery.
Al Gore and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007. They were in Oslo last month to accept the award and take part in three full days of festivities. The Nobel events coincided with the climate conference in Bali, which made the coverage particularly interesting and timely this year. Rarely has the international spotlight been focused more intently on the question of global warming.
In his Nobel acceptance speech, Al Gore drew a parallel between leaders who ignore the climate crisis and those who failed to act as Nazi Germany rearmed before World War II. “Too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: ‘They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent,’” Gore said. He likened the current “planetary emergency” to wartime. “We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war.” Strong words. A powerful lecture.
It was my fifth year covering the Oslo events. More photos and text here.
My photographs from Burning Man appear in several magazines currently on the newsstand. The new issue of Nevada Magazine includes a ten-page cover story titled “Images of Burning Man” with many of my photos. The latest Public Art Review features an article by Louis Brill titled “Burning Man Photographers.” The piece showcases the work of several photographers and makes the point that while public art is often the subject of Burning Man photos, some images from the event deserve to be called art in their own right. In addition, the French magazine Néosapiens includes a full-page photo of mine from the 2004 festival. Finally, the glossy German travel magazine ADAC Reisemagazin featured a pictorial on Burning Man a few months ago in a special issue on the American west. Sierra Magazine will also publish a photo of mine from last year’s festival in their upcoming issue.
The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. The award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, brought together heads of state, prominent humanitarians, Hollywood celebrities, rock stars, and journalists from around the world. An all-round extraordinary event. My photoessay captures some of the highlights, from the award ceremony and the torchlight procession through Oslo’s city streets to the globally-televised Nobel Peace Prize Concert hosted by Sharon Stone and Anjelica Houston and featuring artists like John Legend an Lionel Richie.
The 2006 Burning Man festival kicked off last night in Nevada’s Black Rock desert. In a story today, ABC News described the event variously as “the Woodstock of Generation X,” a “weeklong party for iPod nerds and punk-rock pixies,” and “a massive drug-fueled orgy of the senses.” (Click here for story.)
For the record, Burning Man is not a rock concert, a gathering of techies or punk-rockers, or even a drug fest. That said, Bede Moore, the writer of the ABC story, got much of it right. I’m quoted at one point in the article saying that Larry Harvey and the other founders based the event on a very enlightened set of values. Even though the festival has grown exponentially over the past 20 years, they have stayed true to those values. For many of us, it’s the thing that keeps us coming back year after year.