2011 Burning Man Collaborative Photo/Video Shoot

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Want to collaborate on the playa this year?

  • We're looking for photographers & conversationalists to sign up for 1-hour time slots to shoot portraits out on open playa. (We still need more conversationalists – their role is to have convos that help people reflect on why they do what they do & create a unique statement that answers it in an idiosyncratic way).

  • THE TASK: ask people about why they do what they do & make their portraits.

  • Volunteer sign up. Grab a timeslot before Tues night (Aug. 24th). We'll add your name as a Collaborating Artists on the schedule displayed on the playa.

    • You can also sign up on the playa for time slots to collaborate. Check the posted schedule and use a sharpie to add your name so people know when you'll be there. You can join any time — even if another photographer or conversationalist working.

  • If you simply want to have your portrait made on the playa, show up between 2-7pm, Mon – Fri. LOCATION: (updated 8/24/11) out on the playa at 6:20 half-way between Center Camp & the man. Check to schedule marque for which photographer is shooting.

The "wdydwyd?" project started at Burning Man in 2004. Over 2,000 burners have been featured answering, "Why do you do what you do?"

We had an exhibit on the surrounding wall of Center Camp in 2007 & 2008, and an exhibit out on the playa in 2009. And, a larger one in 2010 featuring past collaborators. We're taking 2011 off for the exhibit. No worries, it means we can do a bigger exhibit next year. Yoo! Hoo! And the collaborative shoot will be bigger than ever!
Sign up here
to collaborate.

Last year, we collaborated with nearly 100 photographers and artists with different styles (including digital and video). Also, many Burners have done the project locally post-burn.

This project is a great way to meet new burners, participate in a collaborative art project... even if you're not a photographer (you can partner with one).

One minute video of the exhibit up at Decompression.
It shows the process a little bit: ends with the table where people were filling out their signs for portraits.

Specific instructions below

(sample Polaroids from past years)
— but you can do it in all sort of different ways —

Holding signs was the first way we started doing this project.
BUT, I'd love folks who collaborate to do it other ways, such as writing on skin.
The only parameter is that it should be text + imagery.

Examples of writing on skin

unique visitors


These images below are from the pre-burn "call for entries" in 2008 for the wdydwyd exhibit .


wdydwyd exhibit SF Decompression

eyes watching wdydwyd exhibit



Shooting wdydwyd portraits on the playa '06 & '07.
(but you could do it anyway you want)


Fill out a poll with your email & sign up for time slots to shoot portraits.

If you do not want to commit to a particular time to participate, fill out this poll now and just show up, fill in your name on any empty part of the schedule posted. Then, start making portraits. Feel free to recruit others spontaneously & bring them to the exhibit to sign up to collaborate.
Someone will be at the wdydwyd staf by 2:00pm each day to meet folks, give you supplies, answer any questions.

3) SHOOT STILLS (digital or film) or VIDEO
Assignment is to ask burners "Why do you do what you do?" and take a creative, risk taking, fun, striking photo of them and their answer (with text in the image). You can do this during particular time slots near the exhibit. As you can see from the video at the beginning, there is lots of energy around the exhibit. However, you can also do them anytime, anywhere on your own (just come get some sign supplies & releases).

For video: The assignment is the same as with still photos... but, the trick will be to get people to tell a short, concise, compelling story in < 2min.

4) AFTER Burning Man (all optional)

> Upload to wdydwyd for blog that reaches 5K+ people/week
> Possibly be in a wdydwyd book (no specs yet... way in the future)
> Exhibit your images next year on the playa!

Make sure to sign up for the "Burning Man Collaborating Artists" group on our collaboration site to keep in the loop about this collaboration as well as ones in the future. You'll get more specific info thru Aug 24.


2008 exhibit at Burning Man

Panoramic by DogFromSPACE


2009 exhibit at Burning Man