For those of you who have never heard of it before, it can basically be described as an annual event, a temporary city (BRC) built, created, and taken down to leave no trace in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada coinciding with Labor Day. It has also been described as an experiment in community, radical self expression, and radical self reliance. But I agree with the Burning Man website when it says, “Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind.”
Scott and I have been going almost every year since 1999, and have seen how the population has more than doubled since our first time out there. For us and our group of friends who participate each year, it is a fun week of parties, music, and photography. Dressing up in at least 2 costumes a day (a day time costume that is comfortable in 100 + degree weather, and a night time costume that can keep us warm when the temps dip as low as the 40’s) is so much fun, it is like a week long Halloween celebration. We ride our bikes around the playa (the ancient dried up lake bed that the event is located on) finding and photographing the amazing art installations and other people who are dressed up in costumes. We also ride our bikes along the streets, happening upon interactive camps, and meeting other interesting people. We go to yoga classes, we drink fancy cocktails, and we listen to music, which is sometimes live, but most of the time DJ sets at the big theme camps along the Esplanade. And because photography is one of our deepest passions, we absolutely love making photographs of our Burning Man experience.
The golden hour just before the sun sets in BRC seems as if it adds an extra tint of golden honey on it’s subjects. Maybe it is the way the light filters through the dust, maybe it is the costumes and art work reflecting the light. Maybe it is just the pure magic of the place. Each year as I venture out on my daily golden hour photo expedition on the playa, I seem to happen upon several wedding ceremonies, and depending upon the situation, I usually make a few photographs, either from a distance, or if the vibe is right, I am given the opportunity to get in close. These experiences have always been highlights for me, but without knowing the couple, I have always been left longing for the gift of time and friendship to create more intimate images.
This year, I was honored to be the “official” photographer for Nicky and Trevor’s Burning Man wedding ceremony. They are a local couple here in Reno that I have known for the past 3 years or so. I met them last Friday evening at their theme camp, Cirque du Cliche, and rode out with them and their family and friends to a beautiful art installation on the playa where they held the ceremony. Even though their BRC wedding was not the official deal sealer (that is set for later this month) I know that this experience was one they will hold dear to their hearts forever. And I will too!