A Photographer Captures the Sand and Seduction of Burning Man

A Photographer Captures the Sand and Seduction of Burning Man – InsideHook

A Photographer’s Intimate Look at Burning Man

Dina Litovsky reveals what it’s prefer to seize the sand-soaked fever dream that takes place within the desert every year

For photographer Dina Litovsky capturing the annual Burning Man Pageant was an actual problem — however in all probability not within the some ways you may think. “It will get very repetitive and it’s simply actually laborious to place the expertise into a photograph” she tells InsideHook. Litovsky has attended the competition a number of occasions, however she’s additionally a photojournalist by commerce — with work that’s appeared in locations like Nationwide Geographic and The New York Instances Journal.

Couple at Burning Man

Couple at Burning Man in 2017

Dina Litovsky

“At first I used to be very excited as a result of within the first few years I believed every part was wonderful. After which I used to be very a lot dissatisfied,” she says. For Litovsky, that repetitiveness of the annual competition introduced an issue — and it was one thing that she sought to treatment. “There was a 12 months once I actually simply put down my digital camera and virtually didn’t take any photos,” she mentioned. Fortunately, that interval of not documenting the competition didn’t final. As an alternative, Litovsky discovered a really particular angle on taking pictures at Burning Man — and it’s one thing that’s led to a variety of evocative pictures within the years that adopted.

Festival goers at Burning Man

Pageant goers, 2017

Dina Litovsky

“I found whiteouts, that are the sandstorms there when every part simply turns into fully white and you’ll’t see past a number of ft,” she defined. “So I simply began doing a collection of whiteouts, and I’ve been doing that for the final 5 years on and off, relying on how the 12 months was — simply concentrating on photographing these sandstorms.”

Art at Burning Man Festival

Artwork on the competition in 2017

Dina Litovsky

In Litovsky’s pictures, the panorama of Black Rock Metropolis transforms into one thing deeply unfamiliar — one half Mad Max: Fury Street, one half Jodorowsky or Tarkovsky fever dream. When you see Litovsky’s pictures of the whiteouts, it turns into extremely clear why she was drawn to those occasions — and even for those who’ve by no means considered touring to the Nevada desert in late August, it makes the competition’s enchantment that rather more tangible.

For Litovsky herself, her work can be a method to break from the norms of Burning Man images. “I feel lots of people go as individuals and so they find yourself photographing,” she mentioned. “I don’t know anyone actually going to [photograph]. I imply, I’ve seen pictures, however plenty of them are portraits of burners. And I really feel like that has turn out to be the principle pictures to come back out of Burning Man through the years.”

Sunlight and sand at Burning Man

Daylight and sand on the 2017 competition

Dina Litovsky

That isn’t to say that Litovsky’s work documenting the competition is with out its hazards. Or, to phrase issues barely in a different way, you may’t anticipate to convey a digital camera right into a sandstorm with out there being some unintended effects. Litovsky has written about the ups and downs of photographing Burning Man in her publication — together with one installment devoted to the technical challenges of the method. “My Nikon D2X was constructed like a tank so it survived, however by the top of its life it appeared prefer it’d been by a world battle and a zombie apocalypse,” she wrote.

In dialog, Litovsky went into extra particulars in regards to the competition’s impact on gear. “I solely have one system, so it’s all the time the identical gear,” she mentioned. “I kill my gear at Burning Man. I’d get the identical lens, only a new one. , it’s not the most secure place for gear. I simply clear the digital camera afterwards and hope for the most effective.”

Couple at Burning Man

Burning Man hookup in 2008

Dina Litovsky

Provided that Burning Man is an occasion that brings tens of hundreds of individuals to the desert, a lot of the documentation of it has centered on its communal elements. Litovsky’s pictures of whiteouts take this narrative in a special route.

“It’s an enormous competition. I imply, it’s actually large. You may all the time discover a place alone if you wish to. And that is precisely what the whiteouts do,” Litovsky mentioned. “They create the sense of being alone; they cowl the sky, they cowl the bottom and you’ll’t see an individual that’s two ft in entrance of you.”

The frequency of whiteouts may range dramatically from 12 months to 12 months. “There have been some years the place there have been perhaps two after which there have been some years when it was all day and all night time,” Litovsky defined. 

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Inside a “whiteout” at Burning Man in 2016

Dina Litovsky

Litvosky’s pictures of whiteouts on the competition have helped her to doc a vital — and elusive — high quality of Burning Man. “I feel Burning Man is a really astounding and really surreal place,” she mentioned. “I really feel like plenty of pictures don’t do it justice due to the truth that they’re specializing in a small side of it. I used to be looking for a method to {photograph} Burning Man that was not simply unique, however that would specific the need of it, and the way it’s a really surreal house.”

For Litovsky, pushing again in opposition to cliched pictures has made for mesmerizing, immersive work. “I gave up on photographing the partying, which I attempted the primary couple of years,” she recalled. “Now, I simply give attention to photographing the silence of Burning Man.” Gazing upon her work, one factor is for certain: these photos converse volumes.

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