1997 Photo Contest, Arts and Entertainment, 1st prize

Jonathan Olley

Network Photographers

01 August, 1996

Anything goes at the Burning Man Festival, held on a vast, arid, prehistoric lake-bed. Ringed by majestic mountains, the Black Rock desert proves the ideal site for this celebration of alternative living by some 7,000 artists, environmentalists, anarchists and exhibitionists, brought together through the Internet. Kilometers away from what they see as a society of straitjacketed puritans, the participants live for five days in tents and trailers in a world of their own creation, where clothing is optional. The only way to buy anything is by bartering, and volunteers deal with revelers overdosing on drugs, sunshine or both. The festival ends with the ritual burning of a huge human effigy, symbolizing pagan sacrifice and renewal.

About the photographer

Jonathan Olley

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