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Saturday, August 20, 2011

The People of Burning Man

This will be my 10th year on the playa, and I have a LOT of Burner books - most of them I think.  Yes, this book is only about the people of Burning Man.  There's no sweeping mega-art here.  Fortunately, people are at least half of what makes Burning Man burn.  And this photographer (who I'd never heard of before) obviously "gets it".

Here's what I mean.  Most of the Burner books follow the lead of the ORG, in that they clean up their act (and those in their images) so as not challenge the sensibilities of the average American.  This editing for public consumption means they produce a watered-down version of what happens on the playa.  Hell, some of them don't even include nudity, and believe me, nudity IS part of the Burner experience.  But that's minor.  There is so much more that often gets excluded.  This is absurd (and not in a good way) when radical INclusion is what Burning Man is all about.

Burning Man is a physical expression of all those weird websites you find on the internet.  You can think of it as the internet coming to life in all it's various forms.  It's ABOUT people pushing not only personal limits, but literally the limits in each art form.  THIS is exactly what Julian Cash "gets".

It's as if he carefully studied each subject to understand what they were bringing to the event, and only THEN picked the lens, angle and lighting to capture it.  Yes, there's some Photoshopping here, and he takes liberties in all kinds of ways, but it always seems to be in the interest of the subject, NOT the photographer.  And it's rare to find a photographer who will let his own ego drop away in the interest of his subject's.  I can only think this aspect is Julian's gift to the playa.

Thank you Julian.  I hope to thank you in person one day.

If you wish to own only one Burner book, this is it.

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