Julian Cash's The People of Burning Man is a beautifully produced photo-portrait book shot over many consecutive years at Burning Man, the giant, weird, delightful art and culture festival that takes place every summer in Nevada's Black Rock desert. Cash -- who's quite an accomplished and experimental portraitist -- does a wonderful job of bringing out the decadence and playfulness of Burning Man. There's plenty of the nudity that often comes to mind when people think of Burning Man (this is, after all, the home of the Critical Tits topless bicycle ride), but Cash manages the fantastic trick of allowing his nudes to be sensual and sometimes sexy without ever being pornographic or salacious. These aren't "tasteful" nudes -- but they are exuberant and above all, fun.
People of Burning Man is to be celebrated also for its admirable lack of text. There's very little narration here, because very little is needed. The pictures tell their own stories -- sometimes in a frozen snapshot, and sometimes over time, as we visit with the same Burners over consecutive years (including one woman who appears first in a very pregnant state, and then with a babe at her breast). What little text there is -- a bit of background on the art of shooting portraits in a harsh desert, a little bit of biography supplied by the subjects -- complements the images without upstaging them.
Cash was good enough to supply a gallery of (NSFW, naturally) photos that are included below. There's plenty more -- and lots more material, besides -- at his The People of Burning Man site. The book was independently published with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, and it's both a beautifully made thing and a thing of beauty.
The People of Burning Man
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