Monday, September 29, 2014

Burning Man 2014 - Finally Done

First, a sad note. Steven Fritz was killed last week in a traffic collision near Portland, Oregon. Steven was a long time and beloved Burning Man photographer and he will be very much missed by all who admired him as a generous and very talented person. I think everyone looked up to Steven.

It's done... for tonight, at least. 

This Burning Man was by far the most intense, meaningful and just plain hard work and transformational yet for me. Today, I completed the edits to my photographs I took at Burning Man 2014. I took 1,197 photos and reduced that number down to just over 200 on the first cut. (Many photographers out there take many times that number and my hat is off to them for the amount of time it takes them to go through and edit their images.) I then went through and edited color, contrast, saturation, etc. 

Burning Man 2014 was the best for me yet although I came down pretty hard after I got home. It's kind of nice to know I still have feelings and emotions. Jackie was working on the Modoc National Forest for two weeks and had already left when I got home so it was a little lonely here. I told her that my new contacts all asked about her going to Burning Man. I think Jackie was encouraged by that kindness so I hope we'll go together next year.

Just by chance and serendipity in addition to my Documentation Team photo work I also got heavily involved starting on Tuesday in construction of an art project titled EVOKE when three people from San Francisco just happened to move in next to me with a cargo truck. The couple, Priya and Bijan, were desperate for help after they were delayed a few days and when the third person in their group, Ken, had to leave for business in New York for four days. Hard work but very rewarding. I think working hard together and over many hours in the heat of the desert, dehydration and a lack of regular sleep creates the physical and emotional context that allows us to experience the playa and appreciate each other more fully. It also matters that we were working on something we believe in and that it can make a good impact on people's lives. I worked with and ate meals with Priya, Bijan and Ken over only about six days but came away feeling like I have known them for many years. 
"EVOKE provides a place for people of all faiths to pray and meditate in one common space."

This is the first installation of its kind at Walk In camping and it was very well received by participants and the Burning Man organization. Michael Michael (Danger Ranger) stopped by and said he was enthusiastic about the project and that the Black Rock City llc would support us. I volunteered to assist next year and we have already been working on designing new additions to EVOKE.

I've been wanting to get involved in an art installation for a few years so this is a perfect way for me to connect. Rusty Rebar, a poet camped next to EVOKE, invited Priya to be interviewed on his radio show on BMIR (the Burning Man radio station on the playa) to help promote the project. I took photos of his performance on a stage at Center Camp for him. A real throwback to the beatnik 1960's and he kept me entertained (I'm old enough to have experienced beatnik). Rusty made a salmon dinner for us on Sunday! When Priya, Ken and I said goodbye we held hands in a circle, they said thanks and I told them I thanked them for letting me into their lives. It's really about the people, and some characters, that keeps me wanting to go back.

EVOKE Fundraiser webpage (that's Priya in the video):

More about Burning Man 2014 to follow later and you can view my entire work so far here:


EVOKE by Priya Assal

Copyright 2014 Scott Williams

Copyright 2014 Scott Williams

Copyright 2014 Scott Williams

Copyright 2014 Scott Williams

Copyright 2014 Scott Williams