Burning Man Project

I would have liked to document Burning Man in a different way and, since I am a fan of disposable cameras, I thought this could be a good starting point.

Type: Personal Project
Year: 2014
Material: Analog Photography

A life changing experience

This year (2014) I finally could go to Burning Man. This for a while was one of my dreams, since the day that my father said that the only festival that he would like to go to was this. He might not remember it but it was marked in my mind since he mentioned it, and I started to search about the event immediately; each time I was more amazed. Even though going from Italy was not that easy, I still wanted to do some small project while there, and so I came up with this idea and shared it with my boyfriend, who helped me to do it.

The idea

I would have liked to document Burning Man in a different way, and since I am a fan of disposable cameras I thought that this could be a good starting point. The idea was then to leave some cameras around so people could make pictures and share their moments without knowing how they would look like, but yet with the intimacy that probably would have been difficult to get if I were to photograph them.

How we made it

We created a “system” that allowed to anchor the cameras to the ground, certain they would not “fly away” and not even get dirty. So we got a ground spike, a fish line and a plastic bag (such as a Ziploc). On the plastic bag we wrote the “rules” on how to use the cameras for this project and also added a link for this page, so they could eventually see them here. We made three of this camera sets.

The surprise

I was a bit anxious as I was not sure whether the project would work out, if people would see the cameras or if we would lose the camera sets due to the dust and wind. So, just one day after fixing down the camera sets we came back to collect them and it was just great.

The first camera was half used (hence, we brought it to our own camp and asked people to finish up the roll) and additionally someone left a message in the bag that made my day. The second camera was finished and inside the bag there was also a SUPER surprise: another camera(!!!) and a necklace. It was so nice to receive all this from people who I don’t even know; people just sharing ’love; people simply just being burners <3

Regarding the last camera, we lost it. When we arrived to the location where we left it, we realized that probably someone had put the camera set inside the Temple, just before setting the structure on fire. It is our guess at least, considering also the fact that we had left contact information on the bag and yet no one contacted us or our camp and did not visit our website to send us a note.

Sharing a bit of my experience

(I promise that I’ll try to make it short)

Burning Man was not a total surprise to me in several ways, since I was already “into it”, reading articles, talking to people who had been there already, etc. But as everybody says, there is no way to really explain what it is, you need to LIVE it. It was one of the best experiences that I had in life, living in a world where there is no prejudice, no judgment; a world where each one helps each other and the default attitude by everyone is to be open.

The first time it is really difficult to “talk about” the Burning Man: when you are there, you live it as a baby again, listening, learning, absorbing it all. The arts are AMAZING, really: it is INCREDIBLE to realize and see how much work people put on that and then considering that many of them burn during the week on the playa. There is so much creativity all around, from the way people dress, to the music or the creative signs around: simply everything has something original.

It was the first time I passed so much time without taking a shower: almost a week and yet it was totally fine (baby wipes saved me). I also discovered an amazing feeling: taking a Steam bath. Yeah, you have no idea how amazing it is to do such a bath in the middle of the desert: your skin will thank you for that!

I loved the ’improvisation’ state of mind I felt there: each day we just cruised around with our bikes to observe anything happening and we were continuously surprised by other human beings. The Temple was one of the places that really touched me: all that energy inside, and some pain too; after some minutes there, I started to cry. The day of the Burning Man was another incredible day; all the rituals they do for 45 minutes with fire before the burn was truly impressive.

Now I understand why they call there “home”. I’m already missing it and I wish I could come back again. Let’s see.

Well, that is all. Here are the pictures; hope that you’ll appreciate them. 🙂

thanks