When I attended my first Burning Man six years ago, I didn't know just how much this crazy, hot, dusty, overwhelming art show would grow to become one of the cornerstones of my life. I arrived early, in a cargo van with my co-worker, to help with technical support to the Box Office. I stayed a week and a half, and met some of the most incredible, determined, talented, and kind-hearted people I've ever encountered. I lived in the box office camp, amongst people who were there to work just as hard as they played. It was these people, those who come out year after year to join a collective who made the event possible for everyone else, who welcomed me into their lives for the last few weeks of summer. And it was for these people that I traveled from Wisconsin to Nevada for the fifth year.
There are many people who make this trek for other reasons: they love the party, or want to see the art, or love music and the relish the chance to dance until the dawn peeks out from over the mountains. Don't get me wrong, these things are great. I love them too. But they aren't what keeps me coming back. I come back for the people in my camp.
Honestly, I was going to write a long, gushy post about how they saved my life, how they banded together and helped me buy a camera when I needed to upgrade, how they have encouraged me at every step, but I don't want to make this about me. I spent a lot of my time this year working, but when I wasn't working, and when the light was right, I made photographs of them. I didn't get everyone, by a long shot, but I made some images that I consider my strongest yet. Here are some of the strongest, best people I know (and some of their kids).