Burning Man - Nothing Left Behind

Burning Man - Nothing left behind

On July 28th, Gallery Hans Alf is hosting a special exhibition, featuring a selection of photographs by Danish photographer and director Anders Overgaard that depict the famous annual festival set in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The exhibition coincides with Anders’s release of his book of the same title: Nothing Left Behind

 The events mark the closure of a four year project documenting the hedonistic spirits of the annual Burning Man festival. Later this year (27th of September till October 27th) the exhibition will be shown at Jason McCoy Gallery in New York. We at Mismo have been lucky to follow the process throughout the last four years, where Anders has been working closely with us on all our lookbooks. 

Sitting down at Burning Man

Burning Man takes place once a year in the state of Nevada in a salt zone, which is the last trace of the ice age Lake Lahontan, located about 150 km north-northeast of Reno. The festival goes on for eight days and usually ends on the first Monday of September, which is the Labor Day for Americans.  On the sixth day of the festival the statue - the Burning Man - is lit on fire in a large scale fire Inferno as captured in the top photo. The festival itself is not only a large scale art-exhibition but also explores themes such as self-expression and inclusion.

Burning man stage

In 2013, Anders went to Burning Man on assignment, allowing him the rare opportunity to document the event. Lured in by the unique atmosphere of the place and its transient occupants, he began capturing “this roaring monster” of creativity, freedom and artistic expression. Anders quickly became immersed and aimed to witness, as well as render as much of the complexities of Burning Man as he could. The images he gathered depict individuals in all their mesmerising self-innovation, artworks at dusk, moments of celebration, burning structures, or the ash-covered grounds the morning after. Upon their review, Anders quickly realised that these photographs were unfit for any commercial assignment and instead, he assembled them in the book Nothing Left Behind.

Girls cycling at Burning Man

Anders described his experience at the heart of the desert using the landscape and the scenery created by the custom artwork for burning man combined with his experience of shooting celebrity and fashion to idealize the experience. Using only existing light, through sandstorms and explosions, flashing LED lights and various abstract light sources he keep true to his aesthetic and brought the same quality to this series he would also bring to his other work that has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Traveller and many more.


"This roaring monster instantly lured me in - into its intense atmosphere, into the vast Black Rock Desert and into the same spell it casts over all of its transient occupants. In this earthly photo-heaven, Burners bring their most intense costumes and outrageous artwork   to channel the divine expression of self. With endless moments to capture, I became completely immersed. Fueled by the compulsion to capture it all, I ended up firing 21,870 frames. Frames that captured moments of elation, realization, growth, wonder, mysticism and most of all; magic. It is the kind of magic that can only be found where the ends of humanity meet the origin of creation."

Burning man - flying woman

When assembling in the Black Rock Desert, Burning Man’s participants join in the effort to co-create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to art and community. Throughout the festival, they have an active role in the experience, which is guided by ten main principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy. First held in 1986 on Baker Beach in San Francisco as a small function organised by a group of friends, it has since been held annually, spanning from the last Sunday in August to the first Monday in September.

Burning man - nothing left behind