Burning Man – WDYDWYD?

If you plan on being at Burning Man, I highly suggest being as involved as you possibly can. After all, Burning Man is about the community that is created within a week, and being able to contribute leads to a more fulfilling playa experience. Incoming our WDYDWYD experiment.

One of the projects I had the opportunity to participate in was a photography project by the name of WDYDWYD? Or, in other words, “Why do you do what you do?”.

Worldwide community-art project to answer the simple question “why do you do what you do?” by combining an image and text in a creative way.

A spot at center camp was chosen and photographers spent 6 days taking pictures of Burner’s responses to this thought provoking question.

Here is my contribution:


Thank you to everyone who participated in the project! It was an honor to work with all of you and I am so excited to see everyone else’s work!

So how about you? Why do you do what you do? (WDYDWYD?)


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25 Responses to “Burning Man – WDYDWYD?”

  1. Melvin September 23, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    Nice idea & great pics! The last two are the best! πŸ™‚

  2. Nick Laborde September 23, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    That is an awesome project, really got me thinking…

    I’m game, WDYDWYD? “to challenge myself first then others”

    • Erica September 24, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

      @Nick: There was an giant display of pictures from previous years. They really are fascinating and inspiring!

  3. Caz Makepeace September 23, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    Great project.
    “To live on purpose”
    or as my wise 3 year old says when she doesn’t know how to answer “because yeah!”

    • Erica September 24, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

      @Caz: Your 3 year old may have something there….

  4. Jaime September 24, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    I am not going to lie this is amazing and brought tears to my eyes! The reason it did was cus right now I am not doing what I WANT TO do. I know I am working on getting there and see all these people being them selves and answering such a simple yet COMPLEX question made me ask my self why cant I.

    So ill answer with: “Right now I am doing what I need to do to get where I wanna be” and that of course is to travel the world.

    • Erica September 24, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

      @Jaime: I am so overwhelmed by the positive thoughts and comments I have received from this post. When I got involved with the project, I was stoked! At one point they sat me down and told me to take a picture – and I had no clue what to say. I sat at the booth for a good 30 minutes trying to figure out why I did what I did. How was it possible that I wanted to know everyone else’s reasons and I never confronted my own?

      Honestly, they way things tend to work out is having a period of time where you don’t like where you are to get where you want to be.

  5. Jenny September 24, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    Wow. I LOVE this post. I think it is very interesting to read the sign and then study each person to try and figure out their story. Extremely compelling. This could be made into a book project! What a great idea.

    “Because I want to live life without regrets.”

    • Erica September 24, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

      @Jenny: Currently, the main guy, Tony Deifell, is trying to work out some licensing rights with Burning Man for a book. They way it is right now is that pretty much anything you shoot during Burning Man is property of Burning Man LLC and they do not want you to make money off of the pictures shot.

  6. Steph September 24, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    “Because there are no mistaks?”

    Was that intentionally misspelled? I hope so.

    • Erica September 24, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

      @Steph: It was intentional! I giggled at it and asked if he wanted it like that. πŸ˜›

  7. Jenny September 24, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    “Honestly, they way things tend to work out is having a period of time where you don’t like where you are to get where you want to be.”

    This sentence really hit me.

    You know… I’ve thought a lot about life and the situations/events that have happened in the past. Upon reflecting on my own life, had I not had the traumatic things happen to me early in life, I’m not sure I’d be where I am today or be so passionate about the things I’m passionate about. Taking those bad situations, hard emotions, and turning it into something positive is very empowering. The moment of realization, which I’ve had recently over and over, gives me an overwhelming sensation of happiness. I’m so proud of where I am and it doesn’t matter what any one else thinks, but me. That’s a hard place to get to.

    To avoid the whole licensing rights issue, couldn’t you do the project outside of Burning Man by finding people off the streets to do the same?

  8. Michael Hodson January 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    I love these photos from Burning Man — they really bring the experience though to the viewer. Well, not entirely, but…. πŸ˜‰

  9. Laura January 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    This is SUCH a cool project! Loved reading everyone’s response.

  10. Gillian January 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    One of my goals for 2011 is Burning Man…I’ll be reading all your posts! Cheers!

    • Erica January 4, 2011 at 1:29 am #

      @Gillian: Burning Man is a MUST! And this year’s theme is Rites of Passage. Perfect for a first time burn!

  11. Abby January 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    That sun just adds this intensity. I want it to be warm!! I agree with Melvin — the last two are my favorite!!

    • Erica January 5, 2011 at 2:30 am #

      @Abby: While I would like it to be warm, I’m not sure you would appreciate how hot it got – granted you do live in LV… maybe you DO have an appreciation! :O

  12. dtravelsround January 8, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    I want more! These are gorgeous and tell such stories.

    • Erica January 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

      @D: Thank you for your sweet words! If I go again in the future, I want to continue to do this project. I fell in love with so many of the people that let me capture a slice of their soul.

  13. Federico January 14, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    A very interesting project, and clean, sharp photos! For some reason as soon as I publish mine in WordPress they stop being as sharp. Do you have any tricks up your sleeve?

    • Erica January 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      @Fede: I use my Flickr page to get my pictures onto WordPress. I heard that WP could make them fuzzy!

  14. Mary @ Green Global Travel September 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Fantastic article! It allots those of use who have yet to venture to the playa to get a glimpse of the fabulous community and wonderfully creative culture that is Burning Man!

    • Erica September 19, 2013 at 11:36 am #

      Aww, thanks Mary! I think you guys would fit in nicely. If you can do the polar plunge, then you can definitely last in the desert. πŸ™‚

  15. Ivana September 20, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    My people *-*
    I feel graceful.

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