I’ve never been to Burning Man, but for years I really wanted to go. I mean c’mon, a bunch of normies heading out to the beach (at first, but later, the desert) to do drugs, walk around half (or fully) naked, and opt out of society for a while. A place to really hippie it up for a week or so. I think I would have loved it.
Today, I wouldn’t go to Burning Man if you paid me. Best I can tell, it’s become a giant, corporate, Silicon Valley tech-bro networking event. A place to “cut loose” but also maybe find some VC money while we’re at it. Something like LinkedIn on Dirty Joke Day, but in the desert (if LinkedIn had a Dirty Joke Day, that is).
Earlier today I was going through YouTube and my RSS feeds, which are very film-photography heavy, and I became disenchanted with the whole film photography bubble. The comparison is weak, I know, but somehow following the online film photography gang is starting to feel like I imagine recent Burning Man events have felt. Everyone is a Brand™. YouTubers mention each other like some Influencer circle jerk. Everyone is all “OMG Cinestill makes these neon signs look amazing!” and “10 reasons why you SHOULDN’T buy a Leica.” Boring, is what it is. I’ve probably just become oversaturated with it all. I can only imagine what’s happening on TikTok.
My current mood really got rolling after I found a list of recommended photographers and many of them were film photographers. Normally, this would be cool, but I noticed that many of them introduced themselves something like this:
I’m a film photographer based in London.
Yuck. If you have to lead with the “film” part, I can’t help but be skeptical about the “photographer” portion1.
I’ve been shooting film since the 80s, so maybe I’ve seen so much of this for so long that I’m easily annoyed when some wannabe Influencer acts like they personally discovered Tri-X.
I’m too old for Burning Man and there are too many people there anyway. Harrrumph!
- Some were actually quite good, but my point stands. ↩︎