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Can't capture the moment
by the Reverend Blind Toaster

Put your camera down and live, children. Even with camera tags and permits and contracts, cameras are more ubiquitous at Burning Man than dust up your nose. I know it sounds like sort of a Zen thing, but you can't live in the moment if you are always trying to capture the moment. Sure at first glace it looks like more eye candy than Las Vegas. But after awhile these pictures are only slightly more interesting than the ones you took at Yellowstone. Why? Because all you did was look at the world through a quarter-inch square viewfinder.

Early in the year, I tried to lobby the Powers-That-Be for some photo-free days or photo-free areas and was beaten back like an immigrant trying to get health care because I was stepping on some artistic rights. Hey! Only about one percent of the tittie hawks who walk around with a camera have ever sold a photo or had a gallery show, and putting up your free website on Geocities doesn't make you an artist. And, this is all I need to have my ass or my hand on someone else's ass show up on a web page and the next thing you know I'm on the FBI subversive list and my boss is asking too many questions about what I really did that week I said I was going "camping in the desert." Fuck that I came here to be invisible.

I became increasingly annoyed by photographers last year when I was walking around semi-dressed with my semi-dressed woman friend. One shithead even asked us to take off more clothes! Another shithead took pictures of us as a couple and then edited me out of the photos he used later. (Hey! I have an excellent ass... for a 40-something guy.) Yet a third shithead was practically stalking my woman friend with a video camera at the Burn.

Even the terminology sucks. Taking pictures is all about "taking." I mean you don't hear people going around bragging about how much head they took. Giving head is all about giving and photography should be too. I had a drunken insight like all my other insights last year when I started going around with a Polaroid camera taking pictures, momentarily, but then giving them to people before they even developed. People actually appreciated it and started lining up to have their pictures given instead of taken. Most people like to see themselves in pictures but not as part of some shithead's vacation portfolio of Burning Man.

I confess I leaned this Zen lesson only after spending '98 and '99 walking around covering the event for the media. When you do this, you become so driven to capture the weird and the naked that you forget to enjoy any of it yourself. Put the fucking camera down or limit the picture taking to one day and enjoy the event in the moment. Leave without a trace except memories.

2002 Piss Clear
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