“You voluntarily assume the risk of serious injury or death by attending”
100 miles from the gambling town of Reno, in the wilderness of northern Nevada, lies a vast, hostile plain known as the Black Rock Desert. The region has been an empty and windswept dry lake bed for most of the past 10,000 years. Except, that is, for one brief week at the end of the summer, when a temporary city rises out of the barren clay.
This is the Burning Man festival, one of the most remarkable gatherings on the planet. Baked by the sun, and blinded by dust, the event acquires different meanings for different people: temporary community, spiritual adventure, performance stage, desert rave, social experiment. It’s also the incubator of some of the most pure site-specific outdoor art ever made. A mechanized fire-breathing octopus. A towering wooden temple 15 meters tall. And the eponymous Man himself—a skeletal sculpture set ablaze at the festival’s conclusion.
In their sun-scorched desert location, these huge installations and happenings exist for no clearer purpose than because someone wanted to express something. Participatory, collective, and often designed to last only for the festival duration, their value resides far beyond the ego, commerce and power play of common cultural output. This book assembles fifteen years of Burning Man images from writer and photographer NK Guy. Epic, awe-inspiring, even reality-shifting, the pictures are a testimony to one of the most uninhibited and expressive centers of our time.
The photographer: NK Guy is a Canadian writer and photographer living in Britain. He is the author of The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer and The Photographer's Dictionary. He documented the art of Burning Man annually between 1998 and 2014.