Since the beginning of Burning Man, the Man has dominated the event, providing a convenient meeting place, landmark, and viewing platform for six days and burning on the six night.
The Man goes to his fiery death in 11 days. Drummers will drum, fire dancers twirl, mutant vehicles gather, fireworks go off, and some 60,000 people witness the event. It is the highlight of the week, the one must-do event… and almost everyone participates.
But the Man is more than one final, fire-filled happening. For six days he will tower over the Playa and Black Rock City serving as a meeting place for friends and as a guide for misplaced Burners. Major events will start and end at his feet. He is the dominating figure at Burning Man both during the day and during the night.
With thousands of people wandering around in the dark, mutant vehicles lit up like Christmas trees roaming the playa, and dozens of events happening simultaneously, it is easy to become disoriented at Burning Man. Unless there is a whiteout and zero visibility, the Man is always there to provide a landmark. (Photo by Don Green)
Each year the Man is given a new base that reflects the annual theme. Burners are invited to explore the structure, check out the art, and climb up to high platforms that look out over Black Rock City. The following pictures are taken from five of the six years I have visited Burning Man.
The Man viewed through a metallic flower sculpture in 2009.
A close up and side view of the above photo at Burning Man.
The structure for the Man is always designed to burn. The site is closed down on Saturday while preparations are made. Art is removed and fireworks are inserted.
The 2006 Man provides a good example of how dramatically different each year’s structure is at Burning Man.
The Burning Man structure in 2010 provided great platforms for viewing the surrounding mountains and Black Rock City. Finishing touches are being put on the structure here.
A telephoto view looking into Black Rock City from the Burning Man tower in 2010.
Another view from the Burning Man tower. In this one I emphasized the surrounding mountains of the Black Rock Desert. Note the bank of porta-potties on the left: not scenic but essential.
In 2007 the unimaginable happened and a misguided prankster lit the Man on fire Thursday night. By Saturday, Burning Man had replaced the structure. In this photo by Horse-Bone Tribe member Ken Lake, the Man (without his head) is being placed on the replacement structure.
A final view of the MAN in Burning Man.