Burning Cam 2011: photos from this year's Burning Man

Photographer NK Guy has posted his annual "Burning Cam" set of photos from Burning Man. This was my first year attending the festival in Black Rock City (my wife and I went as a mutual fortieth birthday present), and so it's the first time I can say with any authority whether Guy's photos capture the spirit of the thing. I really think they do. Burning Man surprised me -- I expected something very good, but marred by ideological chiding over the "ten principles" the event lives by, and I expected something somewhat spartan, thanks to the logistical challenges associated with bringing everything you need into and out of a remote desert. But Burning Man was decadent, lavish, laid back, and friendly without being creepy. Guy's photos bring out that lavishness, that sense of an end-of-the world party with fantastic people who've gone all out for a final hurrah (that repeats every year). We're planning to return next year, because having gone once, I feel like I must try it again.

Name: Charon
Caption: Peter Hudson has been building three dimensional zoetrope sculptures at Burning Man for years.

His works have involved rotating mechanisms with a series of sculptures mounted on them. When viewed with a pulsing stroboscopic light the statues come to life, flickering and juddering eerily.



  1. Funny…I thought I saw you sitting out in front of your camp one morning as I was getting off shift :) 

  2. Nice photos, and nice description of the Burn. We like to think that it is exactly what you described, lavish and principled, but without being preachy or creepy. Good to know that at least on some level, we (as a community, of which you are now a member) are still doing it right.

    The main image, of Charon, was my favorite large art piece of the week. His pieces are always incredible, and each year he’s gone a step further than I thought possible.

  3. I liked the fact that with Charon you had to have a little team work going with your fellow rope pullers to get the right rhythm to get it up to speed. 

  4. Makes me feel better that I haven’t finished editing down my main video from what I shot…

    It makes me homesick.

    P. S. Welcome to the tribe, Cory. If you’re ever in Richmond, VA, look up the Party Liberation Front – we do street festivals, burlesque, the whole bit. There are burners everywhere.

  5. Hey Cory,

    I saw that you were giving a talk at Burning Man, I was sorry to have missed it.  

    Burning Man isnever how people imagine it, and once you go you’ll find it changes dramatically from year to year.  As long as you aren’t expecting the following year to be like your last you will not be disappointed.  Burning Man is a good excuse to do a lot of neat creative things.  Thank you and BoingBoing for supporting a few of those projects over the years. The C.S. Tere Pirate Ship would not have existed without your support. 

    Thank you

  6. Hey, Cory! You gave me an orange before your talk on post-scarcity economics — thanks for that (and sorry I wasn’t able to stick around for the whole talk). Glad you had a good time, maybe see you next year.

    1. Of course it is. If that’s what you want to see. Because being a cranky more-Burner-than-thou is, apparently, some people’s permanent mode of operation.

      Are there sponsors for some of the camps? Of course there are. It’s expensive as hell to put together a big camp. Expensive to even go. Funny thing is, I was the highest paid person in our camp, and I make about 50k.  We scraped our camp together, did it on the cheap, and had a lot of fun. But Noooooo, we’re ‘rich white “alterna” kids’.

      Would we love a sugar daddy? Oh hell, yes. Be nice to not have to worry about money, so long as we find someone who wouldn’t crimp our style. Not likely to happen, though.

    2. “rich white ‘alterna’-kids??” sounds like someone needs to actually GO to burning man to get the real story. i’m glad you finally got to go, Cory — i am actually surprised you haven’t been before now.

  7. Next year stop by the kite camp for a cool one(DOTA)and thanks for all the great stuff you’ve written over the years.  I’m sorry I missed your talk, so much to do, so little time.

    To the naysayers, here’s the best response I’ve ever read: http://blog.burningman.com/2011/10/eventshappenings/decompression-and-beyond/comment-page-1/#comment-28853

    DOTA Rocks!

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