SAVE THE DATE!
I Hope you will join us when I team up with the amazing artist Steve Tate, as Art Meets Photography Tate-Lock Exhibition on September 28, 2017 at 6pm.
I will be showcasing my “Burners Essence” project with never before seen work!
Burning Man is a weeklong event held once a year in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, that experiments in community, art, radical self-expression and self-reliance. All are welcome. A unique and distinctive culture emerges from the experience.
The focus and intent of my Burning Man series titled, “Burners Essence” is to capture a sense of theater and play, and collectively explore the vivid lives each of us possesses within. Now, finally after six years in the making, I am ready to release the series.
I first started what turned into this project in 2009, at my first “burn”. I was trying to document the whole thing. I had no intentions other than my love of visual storytelling. One particular day, I was shooting at Center Camp, and found myself completely overwhelmed! I remember putting my camera down in my lap and thinking to myself, “I don’t belong here”. I hopped on my bike and headed back to my camp.
As I rode to camp feeling defeated, I looked at all the beautiful people I was passing by. And then it hit me; Burning Man is about all the beautiful people; beautiful in spirit and essence. Burning Man is about unlocking their freedom of expression. It’s about them! When I got back to camp I took out an old red sheet we were going to use as part of our shower, I hung it up and started inviting these beautiful people in to be photographed. I found my gift to give and my belonging at Burning Man!
Since 2009, I have returned to Burning Man in 2011, 2013 and 2014. I have given the same gift of a portrait session to other “burners” each year. When I invite them in to be photographed, I don’t really give them any direction, all I say is, “I want you to express yourself in your best Burning Man fashion”. What I get to experience and photograph are magical moments capturing their “essence” and freedom of expression during one of the best times in their lives. What they get is my gift that will last a lifetime, a fond memory of their time at such a magical place where they feel included and are able to express themselves without being judged.
When I started this project, I was a U.S. Military Combat Photojournalist in the Air Force (I actually retired September 1, 2013, while at Burning Man). I love visual storytelling. I thrive on “working” stories, diving into each experience and living for a moment in a world outside of my norm. With the military I captured the essence of the world’s peoples, tragedies, celebrations, and everyday realities. The reason why I wanted to capture these images at Burning Man is because it was rejuvenating for me to “PLAY”, and lose myself after the seriousness of war. This was a place to be creative, and a time for me to set aside photojournalism, and the structure of the military. This is the place I discovered the artist inside me.