I love to go to Burning Man, but there are some years where it is hard for Linnae and me to break away to this weeklong festival in the desert. On the years that we are unable to go, I look forward to seeing the images of those who did go. I know about 5 professional photographers who make their way to BM every year and I usually see Facebook get flooded with Burning Man pictures upon their return.
This year I was surprised to see a set of pictures that seemed different from the others that I typically see online. I saw a group of pictures that were much more focused on the art and the experience of the art installations that are essential to the Burning Man experience. These pictures almost had a psychedelic vibe to them and I was intrigued by the point of view in which these pictures were taken.
It was my friend Kate Russell who took these images. Kate is not a professional photographer. Rather she is a Lighting Tech/Designer, whom I have met through and worked with in the event world. Her pictures were mostly taken at night and really she caught the vibe of what the art installations look and feel like once the sun sets. I was immediately drawn to what she had captured because as she peered through her camera lens, she did so more as a designer and less as a photographer. It did not take long for me to realize that I wanted to blog about her Burning Man experience.
When I asked Kate what stood out to her about Burning Man she said it was the lighting. Kate loves lighting design and even got a degree in lighting at UC Santa Cruz. Kate believes that lighting has a subtle way of influencing a group of people and that lighting comes into your senses and can help you feel one way or another. If there is ambient lighting, then one could expect to feel tranquil and at ease where as bright flashing lights may move you to a dance floor. All in all, lighting is art to Kate. And to Kate there is no better place to experience lighting on such a grand scale as Burning Man.
Being an event designer, I pose the question of whether the special events world could learn from the Burning Man experience. I still believe that special events industry could learn a lot about this festival in the desert. I believe that the future of events consists have having events that are expressions of ourselves. I believe that events should be more interactive with technology and lighting. I also believe that special events are great occasions to be creative and to look at the world from a different point of view. These are all lessons that have been affirmed by my time within the Burning Man community.
When I asked Kate what she learned from her adventures at Burning Man, this year she quipped this short list:
1. Do not set a schedule
2. Live in the Present
3. Be open minded…In other words; expect the unexpected
I believe that these are great lessons to learn whether you are going to spend a week at desert or in real life.