Burning the Man

Burning Man is the creation of a city in the middle of a desert in Nevada, USA. That’s it and that’s that. Basically. But of course it’s just not any city. It’s a city so full of creativity and creative souls that it can blow your mind. It’s a week of intense and strong impression. It’s a sharing community that is based on not taking but of giving. It’s an alternative to the commercialized and greedy society that’s taken over the rest of the world – or most of it. And it’s an environmental experiment – with 60 or 70 thousand people leaving no trace behind when they move out of the desert again.

But more than anything Burning Man is pure fun and joy. If you are willing to let yourself immerse into an intense experience.

Because Burning Man is very intense. When the up to 70 thousand inhabitants of Black Rock City – as the temporary city is called, taking its name from the desert it rises from – party around the clock for a week, it’s bound to be crazy. It’s loud, it’s hot, it’s wild, it’s a visual explosion, it’s white outs, it’s thirst, it’s contemplations, it’s friendship and it’s brother/sisterhood.

Burning Man is definitely a place for extroverts. There is no denying that Burning Man is a lot about sex, drugs and rock’n’roll (well, not really rock and roll, but more trance, ambient and electronic dance music). And no reason to deny it – it’s part of the fun and the liberty of Burning Man. For me Burning Man is in many ways a very American event, seeing it as a reaction to the conformity of the regular American society – where even showing a bare breast is more than most people can take. At the same time it’s an incredible arena for creativity and artistry, of visual expressions and a lot of good ethics – as mentioned before. At the bottom line Burning Man is really about sharing, giving and conscious existence. It’s definitely an experience to recommend – despite the hardship of being in the middle of a desert, with heat and dust and more dust…


About Otto von Münchow

Photographer based in Norway
This entry was posted in Creativity, Personal Work, Travel Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

153 Responses to Burning the Man

  1. Nandini says:

    Wow, interesting. I loved the third photo very much. It’s beautiful!

  2. Love the whole series !!! Great reportage !!!!

  3. fgassette says:

    Wonderful group of photos.


  4. I don’t think I am extrovert enough to enjoy the reality….but enjoyed joining you on your trip. ep, quite something!

  5. Ali says:

    What an amazing event…I have heard of it, but never really heard much about it. Your pictures are great!

  6. Patti Kuche says:

    Thrilling excitement in every shot Otto! Think I might start planning for next year’s now . . . so pleased for you that you had such a great time!

  7. truckerkatze says:

    Events or communities like this are amazing and always give me hope that after all, there is enough positive spirit in the world for a real change of course from the bottom up.

    • munchow says:

      Yes, it’s encouraging to see the spirit of places like Burning Man. But I also see there is a long way from those small and closed communities to the “real” world.

  8. Chillbrook says:

    Wonderful photographs Otto. I’m envious as The Burning Man is a festival I’ve wanted to go to for a long time.

  9. Alli Farkas says:

    A friend of mine is a Burning Man devotee, has gone to several of the desert celebrations. Recently he started attending one in Michigan, where you don’t have to endure the heat and dust, just rain and mosquitoes!

    • munchow says:

      If it isn’t one thing, it’s something else! Although heat and dust isn’t the best part of Burning Man, at the same time it’s part of what makes it so special.

  10. I wanted to step into several of the images and take a closer look around! I have never heard of this, so thank you for broadening my world! z

  11. iwitnesslife says:

    totally insane! can’t believe I never have heard of it until now, thanks as always for an interesting post Otto! – Christina

  12. drawandshoot says:

    Burning Man glimpses are always so intriguing. Your commentary is insightful, Otto. And your portraits of the temporary city are outstanding.

  13. People need to break out once in a while 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  14. Otto, I love the way you describe “Burning Man”. The photos are amazing and I find myself coming back to the post several times to look at them again. Each time I have seen something new.

  15. Bindu says:

    Nice to know about such cultures and traditions. And the photos – what vibrant colours! For me it looks like a totally different world.

  16. starlight says:

    i love the dragon.. your photos are so crispy clear.. sure looks like you had an awesome time..

  17. niasunset says:

    Wonderful photographs and seems also great fun! I loved them all. Thank you dear Otto, love, nia

  18. ABarlow says:

    ALWAYS wanted to go to one of these, especially no so that I know about the joys of photography. So much good stuff there you got man. Really amazing work.

  19. Spectacular photos, the dragon, the clouds behind, looks like a still from a fantasy film. Just spectacular.

  20. Sounds like a dream…and your images are eye-popping….how does one attend…maybe I can assist you with the photography somehow next year….please, please

    • munchow says:

      Unfortunately I don’t work with assistance – and right now I don’t know if I am gonna attend next year. But it’s not difficult to go on your own. Just look up the official sight for Burning Man. Anyway, thanks for wanting to assist me.

  21. Hutch says:

    Great article Otto! As usual your images not only speak volumes but are of excellent quality.

  22. David Hall says:

    Stunning photos Otto. Full of interest, wonderful colour and glorious light.

  23. Wow! Friendly place or what ? I am totally gob smacked…a terrific article and great images!

  24. Very interesting information (and great shots as usual). You might also be interested in this location in the southern coastal belt of the Indian Subcontinent http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auroville
    Only recently a festival around this township was organised in Delhi, the national capital of India.

  25. I first heard of Burning Man a couple of years ago when one of my friends went. I saw his pictures on Facebook and thought, what the…??? So he explained it all to me. Since then I have another friend who has gone. But your photos are the best! What an amazing experience!

  26. I don’t think that even when young I would have done well in that crazy environment, but I always smile when someone shares about Burning Man. There is something so liberating about it, and the exact opposite of what represents most people’s every day lives, I do understand where the draw and allure comes from! I love the photos, Otto. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen more than an occasional news footage file photo! I hope you had a good time yourself! How did you do with Nevada temperatures? I am sure this will remain one of your more memorable photographic experiences! Debra

    • munchow says:

      I think I did pretty well with the Nevada temperatures. Of course it was hot, but not anything I had problems coping with. Thanks for asking. It may sound a little strange, coming from a photographer, but I actually didn’t shoot a whole lot during Burning Man. I will probably go back again, and then be much more prepared for taking photos.

  27. starlaschat says:

    WOW! Great Photos! Thank You for sharing them with us. I am surprised that 60 or 70 people in one place I had no idea so many people show up. I’ve heard about burning man before Navar has a friend who likes to attend. I appreciate your take on Burning Man and your thoughts on the experience. Amazing Photos. Sounds like you had a good time. It does look hot and dusty, but also a visual treat around every corner.

  28. mcolmo says:

    Sounds like a very interesting festival and your photos are so awesome! Loved the dragon very much.

  29. Amazing pictures.
    The burning man projects are so creative and amazing themselves.

    I love this video, based on Dr Seuss’ last book: All the places you ‘ll go.

  30. Sunshine says:

    That’s it. I’m in LOVE with Burning Man! Your images are powerful and one can only imagine how much energy one can feel when you are actually smack dab in the middle of it. Whoa, what a RUSH!!! 😉 Thanks for sharing, Otto!

  31. Victoria says:

    Wow! Stunning images of the event, Otto.
    Must be an amazing experience. I’ve heard the term ‘Burning Man’ (think one of my SIL’s daughters posted a photo taken from it on Flickr once), but never actually knew what it was.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos and writing about it. Sounds like a great experience.

  32. hnMom says:

    Wow, your photos are truly amazing!
    The colors are brilliant and you captured the dessert light beautifully.

  33. quite interesting, sir Otto. didn’t know that America still has communes of sort… thanks for sharing. btw, did you say that things are pretty hot, wild and intense over there? 😉 hahaha ^^ – San

  34. kaliber411 says:

    We just finished Burn Korea 2012, it’s wonderful to see pics of the real deal in Nevada. Might I add, I’m envious of your pictures. http://kimchibytes.wordpress.com if you guys would like to see pics from the Korean version.

  35. What a fun event to experience! Would love to go there. It’s always nice with some sex, drugs and rock’n’roll 😀

  36. Mark Goodwin says:

    Love it! Brilliant stuff…just love your work.
    Thank you for sharing


  37. winsomebella says:

    You captured the vibe perfectly……..:-)

  38. likeitiz says:

    I’ve heard about Burning Man but have never thought of going nor is it in my list of things I need to experience before I die. Your pictures provide compelling argument for how out of this world it is. I’m not sure I would like to experience it though, still. But your photos are just so much fun to view!

  39. So cool! My favorite is the third!

  40. Impresionantes fotografías Otto!, no se con cual quedarme!, tienen un contraste y colores que me encantan y los cielos maravillosos!!, ya nos contarás los secretos, besos

  41. Cloudy says:

    Hervorragender Bericht mit eindrucksvollen Fotos…

    Servus und Carpe Diem

    Und Dankeschön für den Besuch auf meinem Blog!

  42. joop says:

    My compliments for these wonderful colored pictures ….. your a good photographer.

    Greetings, Joop

  43. sherri says:

    i’ve never heard of it until now. you certainly came away with some excellent and intriguing photos.

  44. Each image gives another definition to your words, and your words give additional meaning to the photographs. Since I am an introvert, I’d be running for the hills to watch and observe from afar. Then I’d return to be a voyeur, watching souls that are spirited by this extraordinary event. You traveled a great distance to participate and witness the human condition experimenting with life’s possibilities. I’m sure that the experience will be layered into your already stunning photography.

  45. Gorgeous and colorful images!! It truly reflects your blog – creative!!!

  46. Louis says:

    Wonderful set of pictures capturing the colours, atmosphere and vitality of the occasion. I’m sure just being there is an intoxicating experience.

  47. Hilda says:

    Wonderful series. So colourful, love them.

  48. Carrie says:

    I just love it even the dust. The color and unique people that are like temporary flowers that bloom in the desert. I had heard of this, but had not seen any photos. Yes I would be one who could dress as weird as I could. Your photos are brilliant showing an event that gives people and chance to different. Thank you for sharing just a wonderful event.

  49. Thanks for your attendance. A good week.Greeting, Wolfgang

  50. Well Otto I have to say that you sure go on interesting trips. There sure doesn’t seems to be anything mundane about Burning Man!

  51. dearrosie says:

    I was looking forward to seeing your photos of Burning Man Otto and you didn’t disappoint me: all that sand, beautiful people, beautiful sunsets, and even fireworks.
    My favorite is photo #1538-072 – it looks as though the couple are dancing in the middle of the desert

  52. Mercedes says:

    Hola!! Gracias por tu comentario en mi blog, eso me ha traido hasta el tuyo que por cierto me ha encantado. Las del desierto de Nevada me encantan.
    No se como hacerme seguidora de tu blog pero me gustaria mucho.. Seguire investigando a ver si lo consigo.
    Saludos desde Madrid

  53. aFrankAngle says:

    Although I’ve never attended the event, your imagines seems to have captured it’s spirit. Meanwhile, I wonder, how you got that assignment. 😉

  54. Awesome photos! Looks like a cool event!

  55. Truels says:

    Hi Otto! Great post about this amazing event, it must be a stunning experience to be there?!
    You have taken a series of fantastic photos – how was your own creative dress??
    PS: I’m sorry I have had the time and energy to follow up upon your award, I think it’s too late now. But I was pleased and honored that you were thinking of my blog!

    • munchow says:

      I am not much of an extrovert so I didn’t really dress much in any special way… As for the award, it’s never too late, but surely don’t make it a hassle. I am still glad you appreciated the nomination.

  56. I’ve heard so much about Burning man over the last couple of years that I’m dying to go one day. Love the images. I can see how this is an incredible experience.

  57. Roland Theys says:

    Fantastic série photos, best colors!

  58. Now I would love to be a part of this amazing world of generous creativity and freedom to express. Perhaps one day…
    The images simply jump into life with stunning colors. The sky alone is one beautiful, dramatic canvas of blues and whites. These is awesome, ” a city so full of creativity and creative souls that it can blow your mind…” and it did! Thanks.

  59. Gertie says:

    Intressant företeelse och intressant plats, har aldrig hört talas om detta event, men jag förstår av dina bilder att vad som helst kan hända…och händer.
    Tack för berättelse och målande bilder!

  60. Arindam says:

    What an exciting event! I love all these pictures and your take on this event. I am sure to find a well of creativity with full of energy in a hot desert, must has been a wonderful experience for you!As always Great post Otto!

    • Arindam says:

      I was just reading your reply to someone that, you do not work with assistance. I know I do not have the credibility in me to assist you in something, but for sure if ever you will decide to come to this part of world for sure I would love to be by your side, learning every aspect of this creative process, Sir Otto. 🙂

      • munchow says:

        Thank you for the comment. As for assisting me, you know the previous answer. But I always love to shoot alongside other photographers, not as master and assistant, but as equals. We can all learn from each other – even the more experienced one. So whenever I come you way, I will look you up.

        • Arindam says:

          But please let me confess that, I have no knowledge of photography, what I could afford till now is a 7.2 Mega pixel camera without any knowledge of technical aspects of photography. I would love to be stand by your side learning every aspect of it (not only about photography but also writing). What believe is you are equally a good writer as a photographer. 🙂 Waiting for you to visit my land. 🙂

  61. Marias Teater says:

    Kjære deg – for en blogg! Jeg skrollet meg nedover med stor glede – bildene dine har en særegenhet og letthet som jeg digger. Masse fint å lese også – en gruve!

  62. You learn something all the time, this one I never heard of, thank you for the review and insight to an otherwise unknown adventure.

  63. WOW! The spirit of Woodstock didn’t die out! Thanks for sharing this incredible experience, Otto.

  64. artzent says:

    It sounds like a wonderfu ecperience and your photographs are wonderful too. !thanks for the visit and i will look forward to great post from you!

  65. I love those happy hippy people!! They’re at EDC too! I want to go to Burning Man next year, I hear its really good! Great photos!

  66. fotonita says:

    Herlig reportasje, Otto! For et fyrverkeri! Flotte bilder, liker spesielt godt det tredje.
    Sterk kontrast til de avsideliggende landsbyer i Yunnan provinsen, hvor jeg har vært de siste dagene! ; )

    God søndag til deg!

  67. The Hook says:

    You have a true gift for capturing a perfect moment in time, my friend. It takes true talent to select the perfect millisecond to immortalize. Thank you for always making me smile!

  68. I love how the white clouds mimic the dragon! The color and costumes! You must have been in heaven.These are the best shots of Burning Man that I have seen.

  69. Liz says:

    What a wonderful collection of images!! The costumnes are so colourful. I love the fireworks… that’s the next photography I would like to learn!

  70. A stand out series of image from this interesting looking event, Otto. There’s some beautiful desert light in these shots!

  71. eof737 says:

    I’ve heard only good things about it; especially the creativity. 😉

  72. Java Girl says:

    I certainly love your third picture too along with all the other fantastic shots you’ve taken. Recently, I posted a picture on FB of me wearing a red mask with feathers and someone said they loved it. I was surprised as I thought no one would like it and I almost didn’t post it. Lol. Burning Man sounds like my kind of thing, just for visuals and people watching. It’s like a place of living art where people are walking poetry and canvases; speaking in an artists view of the world. So incredible, thanks for sharing!

  73. Stasha says:

    love these Otto!! You are an incredible journalistic story teller with your camera!

  74. KarenAnn says:

    Looks like a getaway into the wild and crazy and colorful…so well documented by your photos.

  75. For sure it must have be an intense experience…

  76. Wow, that looks marvelous…perfect place to head off and write, methinks. Great pictures too, as always, Robert, thanks!

  77. 2kdb2 says:

    The photo of the trailer camp struck me, showing the practical aspect of what goes on behind the scenes to house and organize so many people. Thanks for sharing!

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