I am a minimalist when it comes to costumes. In fact I am a shorts and T-shirt kind of guy. For Burning Man, I add a black hat and a neckerchief and consider myself dressed up. I become Outlaw.
Everyone is allowed his or her little fantasies at Burning Man. In fact wearing a costume is highly encouraged. It is a key element in the principle of involvement and an expression of personal art. In theory, and to a degree in practice, people go to Black Rock City to participate, not observe.
Costumes have a liberating influence. They allow us to escape whoever we happen to be in everyday life and become, for a brief time, someone else. There’s a bit of the outlaw, or vamp, or siren, or shaman in all of us. One year at Burning Man, fairies and angels were in and it seemed like every other female Burner had spouted a pair of wings.
Some guys like to get in touch with their feminine side. Or at least I think that’s what it is. Dozens of men don dresses. If nothing else, their costumes come ready-made.
In 2006 I was standing outside of Camp Center with my camera when the annual costume contest was going on. It’s where Burning Man’s best dressed strut their stuff. Somebody assumed I was ‘paparazzi’ and ushered me over to where participants were having their photos taken, a sort of Burning Man Red Carpet. I dutifully snapped away.
Many of the following photos are from that 2006 experience. Others are more random. I have also included photos by Don Green, a fellow Horse-Bone Camp member who is handy with cameras.