In 2016, Czech photographer Marek Musil attended his first Burning Man festival, where he was able to photograph the incredible essence that makes this party in the Nevada desert so iconic. This first experience sparked further exploration, with Musil discovering that Burner events exist around the world, as regional groups pull together experiences that maintain the Burning Man festival ethos.
With that in mind, Musil set off the document two of the larger worldwide Burn festivals to add to his set of Black Rock City images. Jetting off to South Africa for AfrikaBurn and Israel for Midburn, Musil was able to connect the vision and philosophy of these three distinct events through a set of incredible photographs. AfrikaBurn, which began in 2007, takes place on a farm near the Tankwa Karoo National Park. In 2018, around 11,000 people attended. Midburn started in 2014 and is held in the Negev Desert in southern Israel. It’s the only Burning Man event in the Middle East.
Each festival adheres to the ten basic principals of the Burning Man festival as set out by co-founder Larry Harvey in 2004. For Musil, it’s important that people look past the outrageous costumes and elaborate artwork to see how a community functions by adhering to these philosophies of community, inclusion, self-reliance, self-expression, and decommodification. The energy that radiates through his photographs show the free spirits that guide each event, and demonstrate just how widespread the Burner community has become.
Moving far beyond the Nevada desert, these sister festivals are a way for the Burner community to thrive year round. Musil captures the festivals by balancing the surreal installations and beautiful landscape with portraits of the people who drive this movement and make Burning Man what it is. After returning home, Musil had the difficult task of selecting the perfect images to express each festival. The result is his book Dust and Light: The Burning Man Collection, which was printed in a limited quantity. He also has limited edition Burning Man prints available for sale via his website.