Rodney Moorehead Photography Photoblog
A glimpse into the world of photography...

September 2011
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Back to the real world…
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:14 pm

I have just returned from my yearly pilgrimage to Burning Man, and it was an absolutely amazing adventure this year.

If you are not familiar with the event, it is an art festival held in the Nevada desert the week ending on Labor Day every year. This year’s sell out crowd of 50,000 participants brought a huge influx of first-timers, as well as the die-hards, making Black Rock City the 11th largest city in Nevada for one week a year. The other thing this sell out brought was media attention, which tends to change the dynamics of the crowd. That puts the responsibility of educating those new to the event with the unwritten rules and etiquette on those of us that have gone before. While making a little more work, it also gives you the chance to share something you love with someone who is experiencing it for the first time. I think that outweighs the minor negatives. After all, it is what we make of it.

Now comes the difficult transition back to the real world, the unpacking, the removal of dust (a nearly impossible task), and the physical rest needed to recover from transporting thousands of pounds of gear to and from the desert. All of this is made worthwhile by the experiences had while on the “Playa” every year. From the massive to the tiny art pieces that you find there, to each individual person that you meet, the creativity and resourcefulness of the participants blows your mind every time. The other aspect of this event and its participants, is the strength of the community it builds. To survive in that harsh of an environment, it requires that we actively help our neighbors and provide help to anyone we can. For example, during this trip, our electric golf cart “art car” experienced an electrical failure on its maiden voyage, and broke down. I began spreading the word to our neighbors that I needed someone with golf cart repair experience or an electrician, and within a few hours, 3 neighbors from a camp several blocks away graced our camp. They listened while I explained the problem, went back to their camp, and returned with the appropriate meters and tools to test the problem and confirm my suspicion of a faulty solenoid, and then to help implement a bypass of the faulty part (NEVER try this at home!!! Very dangerous…). A few minutes later we had a running vehicle! The bypass of the necessary component did end up frying several other parts downstream, but it got us around when we needed it to (my girlfriend is disabled, so it is her only way to see the burns and far off art installations). And stories like this are not uncommon, in fact our next door neighbors had problems with their gas golf cart and were helped by another nearby neighbor. All in all, it is an experience that I think everyone should try (that is if you think camping in the desert sounds fun…it can be very hard) sometime in their lives.

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