The Coming of Age of Burning Man
Beginning in 1990, I photographed at the Burning Man event 21 years in a row, capturing rare and enchanting moments in its history. Burning Man consists of approximately 75 film-based, medium format images I shot during this time.
To create works of magical realism, based on the original photo-documents, I revise and rebuild the images from scratch, changing dynamics of color and form, going so far as to make some shots made at mid-day into ‘day for night’ images, apparently lit by moonlight. In some I have composited miniature paintings made with aqueous media on glass into the photographs. In others, I have layered delicately tensioned new realities over the original image.
Rather than only describe what was in front of the lens, these transformations are intended to create the sense of inner landscape of mood and emotion, the inner states of the experiencer.
Rich Van Gogh, owner of Liberty Fine Art Gallery in Reno, NV, who presented the first solo show of these photographs, says this:
"William starts with a beautifully seen, decisive moment, but he doesn't stop there. He uses color in such a masterful way that the images seem to glow with their own inner light and luminous atmosphere.
"The resulting effect is emotionally evocative and stunningly mesmerizing. It's really an analogue to inner experience on the playa. I've never seen anything like it before.”
View the backstory for images from the "Burning Man" Collection.