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Burning Man Fest

Arts and Entertainment, first prize stories


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.

Commissioned by

Network Photographers

Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA


Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley

Jonathan Olley (born London 1967) is a British photographer. His art photography focuses on landscapes marked by signs of human folly, but he has also worked as a war reporter and stills photographer for the motion picture industry.

After being ejected from the Chelsea School of Art, Olley attended the post-graduate course at the University of Wales Newport School of Documentary Photography.[ In 1989, he began work as a freelance press photographer. In 1990, he won the Nikon Press Award for a photo essay in the Independent newspaper. Between 1991 and 93, Olley covered stories on the collapse of the Berlin wall and the 'Velvet Revolution' in Czechoslovakia for the UK press. At the end of 1993 he relocated from London to New York. In 1992, he joined London based Network Photographers and continued to work as freelance photographer, beginning a project in New Mexico and Nevada, USA, on the Atomic Bomb

He worked as stills photographer on the films Green ZoneUnited 93The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.



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