What is Burning Man Festival?
It’s no exaggeration to say the Burning Man festival is one of the world’s hippest and most mind-blowing gatherings. It’s not quite an art festival, not quite a desert rave, and not quite a social experiment, but something of all three. Held each summer in the remote Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada, it’s a week-long celebration of free-form creativity and radical self-expression.
Burning Man takes place in a temporary “city” some five miles wide that rises out of the open desert toward summer’s end only to vanish again after the event is over. For a few brief days, the ephemeral metropolis known as Black Rock City ranks among the largest communities in the state of Nevada.
It’s a place of breathtaking diversity, a coming together of freethinking artists, dancers, performers, DJs, musicians, designers, and exhibitionists of every stripe. It’s also a place of whimsical art installations, startlingly decorated art cars, pulsating soundscapes and wacky theme camps, all set against an uncommonly beautiful natural backdrop.
2011 marked the 25th anniversary of Burning Man, and it really felt massive this time — from the huge crowds (nearly 54,000, according to reports) to the sheer size of Black Rock City, which was scaled up this year and was in fact so big that there were large parts of it I never got to see. There were many impressive installations, vehicles, camps and performances in 2011, but I found myself mostly drawn to the beautiful and creative people. This is reflected in the sizeable number of portraits in this year’s set.