The sickest way to close those Summer vbz, right? 🧯
BURNING MAN is a Ghost Town where there’s life one week per year in Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis.
Faaaar away from an usual festival with a bunch of hipsters and flower crowns all over the place *🥴*, there is no entertainment booked for BM — participants perform for the community free of any $$$. Actually, the event is held by a non-profit organization called Burning Man Project, and money is nothing over there.
Between all this Monopoly-like-cha-ching vibes, we tell u: when in BM, be sure to pack your own 🥑 🥦 🥒 🥤💦, arrange some shelter and any supplies u might need for the 9-day event on the playa.
It’s like reality turned upside down (and not in a Stranger Things kind of vibe). The world as we know vanishes minute after minute, losing itself in the desert and throwing us all into a post-apocalyptic scenario. Mad Max kinda sh*t right there. 🥵
Smth amazing about Burning Man is its radical expression. The biggest piece of its massive collective art installation was never built to be Instagrammable. On day 9, the large wooden sculpture known as “the MAN” says bye-bye in a ritual burning.
Is like: luv everything and live intensively as long as u can. Then catch a fire.
Even tho BM is *aaalmost* similar to other festivals at least in one thing: THE dopest, 6ickest LOOKS. People don’t give a F* on the heat, showing up with major coaches, leather jackets, and some steampunk costumes and headpieces from hell.
The event is getting bigger&bigger over the years, attracting everyone — even Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg have been there. Not every1 is a fan of the expansion, but sure BM remains tr00 to its essence, calling all the Burners together.
The Burner&photographer Jane Hu started attending the event 10 years ago. This year, she collaborated w/ METCHA, being our 👀 and 👂 during our rad times there and we had an amazing chat w/ her about her XP.
“Burning Man is an endless world of inspiration. For one week, at least.”
1. We read on ur Insta that “ Burning Man is such a great place for random encounters”. Tell us why, plz 👅.
Everyone lets their guard down at Burning Man. The societal norms of the playa are just simply more caring than those outside the playa. When I first started going, you would make eye contact and say hi to everyone you pass by. You would pick up trash you see on the street, even if it wasn’t yours. Now, it’s a little more guarded and “normal”, but it’s still so easy to strike up a conversation with anybody.
2. BM 2019 theme has been “Metamorphoses”. How did u take that into your work this year?
Hmm good question. I don’t think I went into this year’s burn preparing a metamorphosis, but change is of course inevitable. No burn is the same, year after year.
This year, I ended up spending more time alone among a sea of strangers. I also learned to rely more on myself psychologically. I think I was also more confident in what I wanted to capture. Perhaps I’m metamorphosing into a more distinctive photographer, but you tell me.
3. There must be smth to be in a place like BM. Share one thing or two that your 📸 didn’t capture but u saved anyways.
Funny you should ask this. There’s so much to shoot at Burning Man that I found myself in a constant state of FOMO. There was always somewhere else I should be and my mind was constantly calculating where and how I should get there. So I am truly grateful for the little moments when I was able to turn that feeling off.
Being in a whiteout dust storm where there was no visibility at all. Seeing my friends get married. And that final sunset when I finally put down my camera and enjoyed watching the sky change colors for the last time.
4. We’re aware of the BM 10 Principles . For u, what is the main one everybody can apply to even after Burning Man?
Immediacy. We spend so much time in our adult lives precariously balancing different obligations and priorities. This year I really learned a big lesson in immediacy and saying yes when the opportunity presents itself, instead of always defaulting to weighing options.
5. Smth no 1 has ever told u about BM and u had to figure it all by yourself the first time u got there.
Figure out what you yourself need to survive, because that’s going to be different for each individual. Turns out I didn’t care that much about the dust, but my heat tolerance is lower than other people. Once I realized this, I could figure out how to take care of myself and not end up overextended. Survival is the first order of business. Then you can go out and explore.
6. Tips for first time Burners?
⛓ Stay hydrated! Above all else, stay hydrated! I can’t stress this point enough.
⛓ Find a good camp. I had the fortune of camping with friends and other great people.
⛓ Even if you don’t know anyone else going, there are lots of camps that welcome first-time Burners. A camp will provide you with much-needed infrastructures, like water and shade, as well as companionship.
⛓ Be patient. Burning Man is going to test you in more ways than you can anticipate, everything from physically getting there to figuring out how to stay alive in the desert to resolving conflicts with your camp to even how you get dust out of everything you own after you get home.
⛓ Don’t make any big decisions for 3 weeks after Burning Man. Real life does not operate by the same rules as the playa, so allow real life to seep back into your consciousness before you quit that job, divorce that spouse, or move to that country. I’m speaking from personal experience.
BONUS-PRO-TIP: Burning Man will defy your expectations, even if you think you are fully prepared. I spent my entire first year on the playa not being able to comprehend what was going on around me. I didn’t fully settle into the experience until I came back the second year.
Oh, we have one to add: don’t forget ur matches. 🧯
Image credits in order of appearance
The Head Maze by Matthew Schultz and the Pier Group
Mayan Warrior Art Car
BYTE by Jason Blanda
The Lens by Lauren Kilb and the uncūth collective
Wings of Glory by Adrian Landon and the Dusty Sparks
SkyWhale: The Not ShyWhale by Blake Marcus, Chris Welch, Seven
Purr Pods by Paige Tashner/Laser Eyes of Love
The Word on the Street by Scott Froschauer
Cosmo by Roger Heitzman
The Man Base by HYBYCOZO
Talking Heads by Oleg Lobykin
Sacred Grounds by Michael Benisty
LOVE by Laura Kimpton with Jeff Schomberg
The Robot Heart sign
Niloticus by Peter Hazel