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Joint Investigation Team Press Release: Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 “shot down by Russian Army Brigade” May 26, 2018

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Bellingcat, Metaphor Online , comments closed

The Joint Investigation Team based in The Hague in the Netherlands (JIT) revealed last night that it had hard evidence to prove that the missile launcher used to shoot down the plane over Ukraine  came from Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade in Kursk.

They also revealed remnants of the actual missile used- an exhaust and casing- they have been analysing.

The casing includes a hand written manufacturing code that JIT has traced to a company in Moscow.

“That a sophisticated weapon  belonging to  the Russian Army was dispatched and used to shoot down a civilian aircraft should be of grave international concern,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop

Australia pledged $50 million in the budget last month to assist Dutch authorities prosecute those accused of shooting down the plane.

The money will meet Australia’s share of the prosecution costs and help family members of the victims participate in the court proceedings.

Netherlands Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said the team had analysed hundreds of photos and videos of the missile launcher travelling fromKursk to Ukraine to create a”fingerprint ID” that confirmed it had come from the 53rd Brigade.

Bellingcat Investigation

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2017/07/17/mh17-open-source-investigation-three-years-later/

 

He said the missile launcher had disrupted traffic as it was driven across the border to Ukraine and was photographed by hundreds of members of the public on both sides of the border.

Mr Westerbeke said prosecutors had narrowed the suspect list down to a few dozen.

He said “We are going to finish the investigation in a good way.”

Australian Federal Police commander Jennifer Hurst said the team was making “good progress” in a very complex investigation.

“We have 298 precious reasons why to keep going.”

Photo Bohdan Warchomij Metaphor Images

A Perth photographer at the site on July 18, 2014 has recently been interviewed by JIT Federal police for further information.

Thirty eight Australians, including the Maslin children from Perth died when the Boering 777 was shot down on July 16, 2014.

Yesterday Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop upped the ante. “Based on these findings, the only conclusion we can reasonably draw is that Russia was directly involved in the downing of MH17,” Ms Bishop said.

In a move that will raise tensions with an unrepentant Russia Julie Bishop said yesterday that she and her Dutch counterpart had notified the Russian Government that “we hold it responsible for its role in the downing.”

The latest diplomatic push is aimed at achieving justice and compensation for the victims, with a toughened sanctions regime on the on the cards if Russia resists.

Interestingly Julia Skripal who was poisoned along with her father Sergei, a former spy for Britain, by a Russian manufactured military grade nerve agent called Novichok faced the media at an undisclosed location in London.

She admitted on television footage that she was “lucky to have survived” the nerve agent attack and described the the clinical treatment to keep her alive as “invasive, painful and depressing.”

As recently as the weekend Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that if the Novichok agent been used in the attack both Julia and her father Sergei Skripal would have died.

In fact the treatment received by them at Salisbury hospital in England did save their lives after long induced comas.

Making an Impact: Georgina Goodwin Metaphor Images May 14, 2018

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Georgina Goodwin Metaphor Images, Head On, Metaphor Images, Metaphor Online , comments closed

Photo Georgina Goodwin

Congratulations Georgina Goodwin on your important contribution to the Head On Photo Festival with a powerful image that is a contributor to the peace process!

Georgina Goodwin Photojournalist is honoured to have her image ”Broken” of 14 year old South Sudan refugee twins Jacob and Simon exhibited as a semi-finalist in this years @HeadOnPhotoFest, Australia’s leading annual photo festival. The exhibition is being held 5-20 May Paddington Reservoir Gardens, #Sydney.
#HeadOn over if you’re in the neighborhood!
For more info and bookings go to https://www.headon.com.au/

 

Image caption:
”Broken” : South Sudan refugee twins Jacob and Simon, 14 at the new arrivals centre in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Settlement on the Kenya-South Sudan border. They explained how they had walked barefoot for 21 days to reach Kenya with their mother Adut Akot Ker, 44 and 5 siblings, showing swollen and cut feet. With tears rolling down their cheeks, they recounted how last December armed men shot and killed their elder brother and father as the family escaped fighting in South Sudan’s capital, Juba: “There was a lot of shooting and shouting, they told us to go on ahead… They went back to try and stop them chasing us, but the men shot and killed them,” Simon recounted.
They are traumatised.
I photographed the twins just after they met UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi who spent this week in #Uganda and #Kenya to witness at first hand the consequences of 5 years of conflict in the country. As of October 31, 2017 Kenya had 111, 892 refugees from South Sudan. By ‪December 31, 2018‬ Kenya is projected to have 140,000 refugees from South Sudan. Grandi appealed to South Sudan’s leaders to agree to peace.
Image taken on assignment for @refugees.
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#headon18 #photofestival #documentary #portrait#portraitphotography #photojournalism@canon_photos @canoncnafrica #mycanon#lenscultureportraits #ReportageSpotlight#hildrenofinstagram #humanrights#everydayrefugees @everydayrefugees #refugees

Breakout hit 2018 Sundance Film Festival “Tangerine” Director Sean Baker Shot on an IPhone 5S May 11, 2018

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Online, The Verge , comments closed

Tangerine, a breakout hit from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is full of surprises. There’s the subject matter: transgender prostitutes working in a not-so glamorous part of Hollywood. And there are the characters: flinty, funny, nobody’s victim. But the story behind the camera is as surprising as what’s in front of it. Particularly because the camera used to shoot Tangerine was the iPhone 5S.

“IT WAS SURPRISINGLY EASY.”

Plenty of amateur films have been shot using iPhones, but by all reports, this is the first movie at the Sundance Film Festival to be shot almost entirely on an Apple device. It was a decision that indie writer and director Sean Baker made to accommodate the film’s small budget. But you’d never guess the camera, to look at it: Tangerine was shot in a widescreen, 2:35:1 aspect ratio, and its camera zooms through the streets of LA with a fluidity you’d never expect from a handheld device. And yet despite his camera of choice, Baker says the iPhone made for a good partner. “It was surprisingly easy,” Baker says. “We never lost any footage.”

So how do you make a Sundance movie for iPhone? You need four things. First, of course, the iPhone (Baker and his team used three). Second, an $8 app called Filmic Pro that allowed the filmmakers fine-grained control over the focus, aperture, and color temperature. Third, a Steadicam. “These phones, because they’re so light, and they’re so small, a human hand — no matter how stable you are — it will shake. And it won’t look good,” says Baker. “So you needed the Steadicam rig to stabilize it.”

https://www.filmicpro.com/works/tangerine/

The final ingredient was a set of anamorphic adapter lenses that attach to the iPhone. The lenses were prototypes from Moondog Labs, and Baker said they were essential to making Tangerine look like it belonged on a big screen. “To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have even made the movie without it,” Baker says. “It truly elevated it to a cinematic level.”

 

 

 

“JESUS CHRIST, MAN, I WAS ON THE WIRE.”

Like any conventional film, Tangerineunderwent post-production. “With a lot of these social realist films, the first thing you do is drain the color,” Baker says. “We went the other way. We pumped the colors and put the saturation through the roof. Just because the world there is so colorful, and the women are so colorful. We wanted it to match them.” (Orange emerged as the dominant color in the film, inspiring its title.) The final step was to apply a digital grain to the movie, giving it a quality more reminiscent of actual film.

At first, the cast wasn’t convinced shooting with the iPhone would work. “I had some hesitancy about it, more out of pride,” says James Ransone, who plays Chester, the pimp at the center of Tangerine’s love triangle. “I’m like, Jesus Christ, man, I was on The Wire. I’ve ended up in iPhone movies!” But Ransone came to appreciate the flexibility of the device. “There’s a lot that can be done with an iPhone.” (One example: Baker shot several scenes while riding his 10-speed bicycle in circles around his actors.)

Ransone said that the key to shooting Tangerine was having a team well-versed in traditional filmmaking. “You still need to know how editing works. You still need to know how sound works. You still need to know how a camera works,” he says. “You can’t just go out and shoot.” iPhone footage hasn’t yet caught up with true 35 millimeter film — a high bar — but Ransone expects it will some day. “Yes, you can make a beautiful-looking film on a shoestring budget,” he says. “But you have to know 100 years worth of filmmaking.”

“YOU CAN MAKE A BEAUTIFUL FILM ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET.”

The unusual creative process behind Tangerine doesn’t stop with its camera. Baker made the movie after becoming obsessed with a donut store in his neighborhood, a seedy block on Santa Monica Boulevard with a notorious reputation. “It was a chaotic corner — there was always something going on in Donut Time,” he says. “So I said, I wanna make a film about Donut Time.” That idea led him and his co-writer, Chris Bergoch, to a nearby LGBT center, where they met Mya Taylor, an aspiring singer and actress, who in turn introduced the filmmakers to her roommate and eventual co-star, Kiki Kitana Rodriguez.

The two women began sharing some stories from around the block, (“People love to hear drama. Especially filmmakers,” Taylor tells me) and happened upon a striking bit of drama from the neighborhood: a trans woman became enraged when she heard her boyfriend had slept with a biological female — “actual fish,” as they say in Tangerine. The trans woman decided to hunt the other woman down, and thus Tangerine found its inspiration, with the writers collaborating with their cast on the script.

 

 

The result, at least for me, is the ideal Sundance movie: totally unexpected, set in a world I’ve never visited, with a story the major studios wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot selfie stick. Rodriguez is an effervescent blur as Sin-Dee Rella, an ex-con hunting down her pimp fiancée’s mistress on Christmas Eve. She stomps down Hollywood’s Walk of Fame like it’s a catwalk, spitting fire at anyone dumb enough to cross her, and manages to terrify nearly every man she meets. Taylor, as her best friend and fellow prostitute Alexandra, tries to talk sense into Sin-Dee every step of the way, cleaning up the damage in her wake. Their sisterhood in the face of real danger brings depth to the frequently over-the-top comedy.

Tangerine isn’t perfect — it slows considerably in its final third, and the big climax at Donut Time feels less convincing than the film that led up to it. But in a festival full of coming-of-age dramas and straightforward documentaries, it’s a minor miracle: a good long look at the margins, captured by a $550 phone.

Steven Soderbergh’s New Movie “UNSANE” was Shot in 4K on the iPhone May 11, 2018

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Online, Petapixel , comments closed

Director Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie is a psychological horror-thriller titled Unsane. This feature film has a big difference from his previous movies, though: it was shot entirely on the iPhone. You can watch the official 3-minute trailer above.

The synopsis of the movie reads: “A young woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution where she is confronted by her greatest fear–but is it real or is it a product of her delusion?”

Soderbergh, who’s known for films such as Erin BrockovichTraffic, and Ocean’s Eleventells IndieWire that he decided on shooting with an iPhone because he was impressed with the cinematography, and that he is likely to continue shooting with the iPhone moving forward.

“I think this is the future,” Soderbergh tells IndieWire. “Anybody going to see this movie who has no idea of the backstory to the production will have no idea this was shot on the phone. That’s not part of the conceit.

“People forget, this is a 4k capture. I’ve seen it 40 feet tall. It looks like velvet. This is a gamechanger to me.”

 

Here is the trailer on the Peta Pixel site:

https://petapixel.com/2018/01/30/steven-soderbergh-shot-latest-film-iphone-heres-trailer/

Apparition: Cyanotype Postcards from J Fredric May May 10, 2018

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Lens Culture, Metaphor Online , comments closed
Photographer: J Fredric May

A graduate of Brooks Institute, J. Fredric May received his B.S. in Commercial/Color Technology and was accepted into the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop in 1989.
He made his living as a photojournalist and commercial photographer traveling all over the world, telling visual stories with a signature style of bold color and confrontational composition. He won numerous state and regional honors.
As a filmmaker, May directed more than 50 corporate and industrial films and helped raise more than 7 million dollars for non profit organizations. He won Telly and Cine Awards for his creative film work and national awards for his corporate and nonprofit clients.


During open heart surgery in 2012, he suffered a major stroke leaving him legally blind and subject to vivid visual hallucinations. This life event changed his artistic vision, opening up an entirely new visual style. The result is his current project, Apparition: Postcards From Eye See You.

Where others might have been discouraged or quit photography altogether, May embraced his unfamiliar perspective: “With profound curiosity and a life-long habit of experimentation, I picked up my iPad and started to explore. Because I was raised by inventors and engineers, I embraced regeneration as a way of life, so I focused my limited attention on what could be invented and created.”

To produce this series, May used imaging software to corrupt visual data. He explains, “I was effectively able to replicate what was happening in my own brain. I scanned found portraits, maimed their component features and rebuilt them as layered composites to resemble how I now see, in fragments, somehow familiar, yet strange. I take my layered composites and print them as cyanotypes, and then bleach and tone them with a mixture of photo chemicals and tea.”

 

In the very last step, May digitizes the cyanotypes and alters them further as he sees fit. The final images are like soft, hazy, mosaicked memories combined with intricate, focused fragments. The result is a testament to how the photographic process, as a medium, transcends static, repetitive, or mechanical use, and with each frame offers the real possibility to create something truly new.

—Cat Lachowskyj

History Repeats: Austerity Measures under attack in France May 8, 2018

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Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in Paris to protest against the stream of economic reforms brought in by French President Emmanuel Macron since coming to power a year ago. Bruno Barbey’s photos of Paris under siege in 1968 are a monochromatic echo of the contemporary protests.

Photo Bruno Barbey MAGNUM

Protesters bearing “Stop Macron” banners and chanting “one year is enough” were cheered on by drummers and marching bands in an anti-celebration of Mr Macron’s time in office organised by a member of the hard-left France Unbowed movement.

French riot police have used water cannon and teargas on hundreds of hooded protesters who smashed shop windows and hurled petrol bombs at the start of an annual May Day rally in Paris.

A carnivalesque atmosphere followed a tense May Day rally in Paris, when hundreds of masked and hooded anarchists torched cars and hurled rocks at police on Tuesday, hijacking a demonstration called by labour unions.

Saturday’s demonstration, under a large police presence, came almost a year to the day since 40-year-old Mr Macron won the presidential race on a centrist platform and with a pledge to shake-up rigid institutions and revitalise the economy.

A wave of reforms soon followed, including an overhaul of labour laws that has made it easier for companies to hire and fire, earning Mr Macron the tag of “president of the rich” among detractors and sparking discontent from labour unions.

With a political opposition in tatters, Mr Macron vowed to press on with his bid to reboot the economy, even as he faces one of his sternest tests to date with a rolling strike by rail workers protesting a shake-up at state-owned train company SNCF.

Members of France Unbowed, headed by Jean-Luc Melenchon who also stood for the presidency last year, have sought to fire up a backlash against Mr Macron’s policies by getting backers onto the streets.

Breath review: Simon Baker’s directs a nostalgic tribute to surf culture. Portraits by Bohdan Warchomij for Luna Cinemas in Perth. Film Stills David Dare Parker. May 6, 2018

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“Breath’ the film, directed on debut by actor Simon Baker, condenses Tim Winton’s novel  into a  coming-of-age tale about a sensitive teenager, Pikelet (Samson Coulter), his reckless, platinum haired  friend Loonie (Ben Spence) and a  hippy couple living on the edge of town — Sando and Eva — played by Simon Baker and a reclusive Elizabeth Debicki. Narrated by Tim Winton himself the story veers from casual male brotherhood and friendship to a transition from the immaturity of the juvenile to the growth of maturity in Pikelet as he falls for the sexuality of Eva on Sando’s trip to Indonesia to surf on his own. He has to learn to deal with Eva’s dark side.

 

From the opening moment when white light floods the screen to focussing on an underwater scene the film’s colour grading has a misty and melancholic quality, as if emulating seafoam or mist from the crest of a wave. The cinematography (by Marden Dean and, for the water sequences, Rick Rifici) is as concerned with distribution of light as it is colour and movement, presenting open, oxygen-filled compositions. The stills photography by David Dare Parker eloquently captures surfing culture as it was in the seventies in Margaret River and Cowaramup Bay in Gracetown.

Most surfing films view surfing as a recreation for the young. ‘Breath’ revolves around a pair of teenage boys, surfers turned actors, Pikelet (Samson Coulter) and Loonie (Ben Spence), but the emergence of  older characters are integral to the vision. It is a coming-of-age journey tempered by a complex contemplation of the nature of growing up and thrill-seeking and approaching manhood.

Aesthetically beautiful ‘Breath’ is a fine Australian film.

Tim Winton and Simon Baker at Luna Cinemas Q & A Photo Bohdan Warchomij

 

Remembering Photojournalist Shah Marai through his photographs: A Tribute from The Atlantic May 1, 2018

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Online, The Atlantic , comments closed

The sadness of war can be seen in Shah Marai’s sensitive photographs of Afghan children but the reality of war can only be comprehended through the loss born by his wife and six children. There are 41 photos of his work in this tribute from The Atlantic (see the link below). RIP.

Shah Marai, chief photographer for Agence France-Presse in Kabul, was killed today in Afghanistan, one of at least 25 victims of twin suicide bombings in downtown Kabul. The second bombing targeted journalists who had come to cover the initial attack, killing nine of them, including Marai. He began covering events in Afghanistan for AFP in 1998, first as a stringer, later a staff photographer, working his way up to chief photographer. In those 20 years, AFP distributed more than 18,000 of his photos, documenting the horrors of war, but also everyday life—including the struggles of ordinary Afghans and the beauty of the landscape. He had an incredible ability to capture the humanity in almost any situation. A collection of his photos is gathered below. Shah Marai leaves behind a family, including six children. I also invite you to read “When Hope Is Gone,” written by Marai in 2016 about Afghanistan after the U.S. pulled out, and about his own role in covering the events of the previous decades.

https://correspondent.afp.com/when-hope-gone

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/04/remembering-photojournalist-shah-marai/559241/?utm_source=fbb

Photojournalist Shah Marai Centre with AFP Staffers in Kabul

 

Fremantle Live Animal Exports Protest Photos Bohdan Warchomij April 30, 2018

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Stop Live Exports Protest B Wharf Fremantle. Speaking out is veterinarian Sue Foster. Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Stop Live Exports Protest B Wharf Fremantle. Lesley Mattam leads protestors. Photo Bohdan Warchomij

A snap rally was held in Fremantle on B Shed Wharf on Sunday afternoon 29th April to coincide with the loading of sheep on Emanuel Exports vessel – the Al Messilah.

Stop Live Exports Protestors B Wharf Fremantle Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Stop Live Exports Protest B Wharf Fremantle Katrina Love National Vice president Animal Justice Party. Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Stop Live Exports campaign Manager Katrina Love said that 250-300 people attended the rally against the exporter Emanuel Exports which was the company involved in an August 2017 incident that was brought to the attention of agriculture minister  David Littleproud. That ship was the Awassi Express and a whistleblower approached Animals Australia with video footage showing sheep dying due to heat stress en route to the Middle East. The ship left Fremantle on 1 August carrying 63,804 sheep bound for Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. It was subject to the standard investigation by the federal environment department because the number of sheep killed by heat stress pushed the mortality rate to 3.76%. The Al Messilah has incurred similar investigations previously.

Stop Live Exports Protestors B Wharf Fremantle Photo Bohdan Warchomij

While the shipment detailed in this incident was on route last year, the Perth-based exporters were warned of possible prosecution over a shipment in July 2016 on which 3,027 of the 69,322 sheep onboard died, leaving a mortality rate of 4.36%.

Stop Live Exports Protest B Wharf Fremantle.Young protesters speak out. James Warden with his dog Daisy in protest.  Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Stop Live Exports Protest B Wharf Fremantle. Young protesters speak out. Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Stop Live Exports Protest B Wharf Fremantle. Protesters in a silent protest Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Burning Man Festival Co-Founder Larry Harvey dead at 70 April 29, 2018

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Online , comments closed

SAN FRANCISCO — Larry Harvey, whose whimsical decision to erect a giant wooden figure and then burn it to the ground led to the popular, long-running counterculture celebration known as “Burning Man,” has died. He was 70.

Harvey died Saturday morning at a hospital in San Francisco, surrounded by family, Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell said. The cause was not immediately known but he had suffered a stroke earlier this month.

The Festival has had successful spinoffs throughout the world, including West Australia’s BLAZING SWAN, which I attended for the first time this year on the peripheries of a salt lake near Jilakin Rock near the town of Kulin.

It was a revelation. And an inspiration. Blazing Swan is an annual festival held in Kulin, 300 kilometres away from Perth,  during the Easter long weekend. It’s an official Australian counterpart of the American ‘Burning Man’ event and attracts people from all walks of life – challenging their collective attitude and their philosophies of life.

Upon arriving at the entrance to Jilakin Rock City (the land where the festival is held) my car was stopped by a beautiful woman called Cat with blue lipstick. She welcomed me to Blazing Swan and talked about protocol, the need to ask permission when hugging a stranger and my expectations of the event. The introduction to the festival was communal and positive. And then we crossed into the world of the Blazer.  It almost appears as though a god from an alternate zone has thrown together a circus, a costume shop,  fire throwers and incredibly warm people into a test tube, mixed them up and poured the amalgam out to produce a new breed of human. Mutant vehicles drive around the ground filled with people clothed in wild, fabulous costumes. And sometimes just unclothed and perfectly comfortable. I connected with people I met en route, with friends from my past and taken photos that have engaged me with new friends. Humans seem to be wired for Ceremony. Music connects them. Expression connects them. Creativity and the Burning man concept connects them.

Jilakin Rock City is the informal name of the community and supporting infrastructure and services created each year at Jilakin around the Blazing Swan event. The site has some permanent infrastructure, notably the horse racing track and associated buildings, and the accommodation block known as ‘Camp Hart’. A set of dirt roads are graded for the Bush Races and for the Blazing Swan event, roughly following the same plan each year. The naming of these streets can change from year to year. Generally speaking the site is divided up in to four zones: Art Burn, Theme Camp, General Camping, and Service Areas. Since 2016 the Art Burn zone has been located at the base of Cave Rock, with the Theme Camp zone wrapped around that in a rough semi-circle.

Created infrastructure: the Temple and the Swan Effigy, erect lighting, help install art works, set up the Medical Centre and the Greeters gate.Portable toilet blocks are also brought in, along with diesel generators and power distribution systems in the Theme Camp areas Provision of water, sewerage services, and power to the community remains the greatest logistical challenge and cost to the Blazing Swan organizers. in 2017 over a quarter of a million litres of water was brought onto, and taken off, site by contractors. It is likely that in 2018 the organizers will turn to a full cost recovery model for the provision of electric power to Theme Camps, and further reduce the availability of showers onsite. Some sense of the scale of the operation may be gained by noting that the 2,500 Blazing Swan attendees briefly but significantly outnumber the population of Kulin township (400), and even the entire Kulin Shire (800).

There are Burns like this all over the world. In Africa, in New Zealand, in Ukraine, in Netherlands. The circuit is constantly expanding.

Longtime friend Stuart Mangrum posted on the organization’s website that Harvey did not believe in any sort of existence after death.

“Now that he’s gone, let’s take the liberty of contradicting him, and keep his memory alive in our hearts, our thoughts, and our actions,” Mangrum wrote. “As he would have wished it, let us always Burn the Man.”

The creator of the annual week-long summer festival in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert was hospitalized April 4 after suffering a massive stroke. The Burning Man organization did not disclose his prognosis, only saying that he was getting round-the-clock care.

Burning Man takes place annually the week before Labor Day, attracting some 70,000 people who pay anywhere from $425 to $1,200 a ticket to travel to a dry lake bed 100 miles (161 kilometers) east of Reno, where temperatures can routinely reach 100 degrees (37.8 degrees Celsius) during the summer. There they must carry in their own food, build their own makeshift community and engage in whatever interests them.

 On the gathering’s penultimate day, the giant effigy — or Man as it is known — is set ablaze during a raucous, joyful celebration.

“A city in the desert. A culture of possibility. A network of dreamers and doers,” is how the gathering is described on Burning Man’s website.

An “esoteric mix of pagan fire ritual and sci-fi Dada circus where some paint their bodies, bang drums, dance naked and wear costumes that would draw stares in a Mardi Gras parade,” is how The Associated Press once described the gathering.

While tickets now sell out immediately, Harvey described in a 2007 interview how he had much more modest intentions when he launched Burning Man on San Francisco’s Baker Beach one summer day in 1986.

“I called a friend and said, “Let’s go to the beach and burn a man,” he told the website Green Living. “And he said, ‘Can you say that again?’ And I did and we did it.”

It wasn’t until afterward, Harvey recalled, that he had the epiphany that led to Burning Man.

“What really changed my life and what in some sense gave birth to the rest of my life and career is the fact that suddenly all these people, on that beach, who we didn’t know, strangers, came running towards that figure,” he said. “The spectacle was fine, but it was people who joined us in such a heartfelt and instantaneous way. It opened our hearts and that’s what made us feel and know in the end that we had to do it and keep doing it.”

Within a few years the event had outgrown Baker Beach and moved to the desert.

 While Harvey would speak frequently about Burning Man in the years that followed, he would reveal little about himself and it was often hard to discern truth from fiction.
He believed he was conceived in the back of a Chevrolet by parents who abandoned him soon after his birth, he once told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Adopted by potato farmers and raised near Portland, Oregon, he said he hitchhiked to San Francisco at age 17, arriving just as the 1965 Summer of Love was ending.

After that first fire in 1986, Burning Man flourished as Harvey meticulously oversaw its every detail from the various communities that would spring up overnight to its annual arts theme to the beautifully crafted temple that accompanies Burning Man and is also burned.

 He laid out 10 “principles” for those who attend, including interacting and sharing unselfishly with one another, developing self-reliance and, after the event’s conclusion, leaving the desert landscape unspoiled.

Harvey eventually formed a limited liability corporation to put on Burning Man, converting it in 2013 to a nonprofit with 70 employees and a budget of $30 million. He was president of its board and “chief philosophic officer.”