For the past 21 years, photojournalist and military photographer Jeremy Lock directed his lens towards the elements of the world that many of us will never have the opportunity or even the desire to see firsthand. His images are beautiful, heartbreaking, provocative and devastating – sometimes all in the same frame. Retired from the U.S. Air Force and now based in Dallas, Texas, Jeremy is available for assignments worldwide. He enthusiastically provides storytelling images to a variety of clients including, editorial, commercial, reportage, action, and non-profit.
My focus and intent through my Burning Man portraits is to capture a sense of theater and play and collectively explore the vivid lives each of us possesses within. Now, finally after six years in the making I am ready to release the series with a small exhibition at Edo Poken's store in the Design District of Dallas.
I first started what turned into this project in 2009 at my first "burn". I was trying to document the whole thing. I had no intentions other than my love of visual storytelling. One particular day, I was shooting at center camp and found myself completely overwhelmed! I remember putting my camera down in my lap and thinking to myself, "I don't belong here". I hopped on my bike and headed back to my camp.
As I rode to camp feeling defeated, I looked at all the beautiful people I was passing by. And then it hit me; Burning Man is about all the beautiful people; beautiful in spirit and essence. Burning Man is about unlocking their freedom of expression. It's about them! When I got back to camp I took out an old red sheet we were going to use as part of our shower, I hung it up and started inviting these beautiful people in to be photographed. I found my gift to give and my belonging!
Since 2009, I have returned to Burning Man in 2011, 2013 and 2014. I have given the same gift of a portrait session to other "burners" each year. When I invite them in to be photographed, I don't really give them any direction, all I say is, "I want you to express yourself in your best Burning Man fashion". What I get to experience and photograph are magical moments capturing their "essence" and freedom of expression during one of their best times in their lives. What they get is my gift that will last a lifetime, a fond memory of their time at such a magical place where they feel included and are able to express themselves without being judged.
When I started this project, I was a U.S. Military Combat Photojournalist in the Air Force (I actually retired September 1, 2013, while at Burning Man). I love visual storytelling, I thrive on "working" stories, diving into each experience and living for a moment in a world outside of my norm. With the military, I captured the essence of the world's peoples, tragedies, celebrations, and everyday realities. The reason why I wanted to capture these images at Burning Man is because it was rejuvenating for me to "PLAY", and lose myself after the seriousness of war. This was a place to be creative, and a time for me to set aside photojournalism, and the structured military. This is the place I found the artist inside me.