From its humble beginnings in 1986 as a celebration of the Summer Solstice (attendance = 20), what is now called Burning Man has grown into an annual international phenomenon attended by over 29,000 people. In the first year, at Baker Beach, San Francisco, Larry Harvey and Jerry James built an improvised wooden figure which was set on fire. The next year the Man was 20 feet tall, and from then on he continued to grow. In 1990 the Burn moved to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, where a 40-foot Man was torched, and in 2002 the Man reached over a whopping 70 feet.

The event includes art installations, theme camps, concerts, fashion shows, community media services, dozens of radio stations (including Burning Man Information Radio), and the Black Rock Gazette. Press coverage includes CNN, ABC’s Nightline, NBC, Time, Washington Post, and publications from around the world.

For those who have attended, the phenomenon that is Burning Man is a state of mind, an extremely visceral experience of creativity, inspiration, introspection, freedom, camaraderie, and just plain surviving the elements. The event continues to pervade and illuminate their lives once they return home. The organization has over 70 regional contacts around the U.S. and the world who make themselves available to others to help nurture connectivity and self expression in their own communities.

TheScreamOnline chose fourteen photographers who have attended Burning Man to be a part of the following photo essay which chronicles many aspects of the event. Thanks go to each of them for permission to use their images. Please feel free to contact any one of them using the links provided. Also, we urge you to visit the official Burning Man web site where you will find articles, a time line, information about attending future events, and a vast gallery of images from years past.

The following photographs are arranged by photographer, so no attempt was made to group them otherwise. Viewing them in linear order will not tell any particular story or portray a sequence of events—the images simply reflect the vivid and colorful elements that make up the Burning Man experience. Enjoy!

Back to