The Burning Man festival is currently underway in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, drawing 50,000 revellers for a week of music, art and "radical self-expression".
The festival has grown from its humble roots on a San Francisco beach to what it is now - a world-renowned phenomenon and gathering place for those interested in alternative cultures. It is described by organisers as "more of a city than a festival", and attendees will find sculpture, makeshift streets and buildings, crazy vehicles and theme camps, all with the overriding idea of self expression and self-reliance.
Everyone attending is encouraged to become part of the festival, either through the costumes they wear, the sculptures they build, gifts they bring to give to other attendees, or anything else they can think of!
The desert environment provides scorching temperature of up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as regular dust storms. Visitors are encouraged to bring face masks and appropriate eyewear!
Visitors are also encouraged to bring unusual forms of transport, known as 'Mutant Vehicles'. Designs must be submitted before the event, and are strictly controlled to ensure that only 'mutated' rather than merely decorated cars make it in!
The theme for artworks for the 2012 Burning Man is 'Fertility 2.0'. The female sculpture below, known as 'Bliss Dance' formed part of the 2010 event.
Since the 2000 festival, a large 'temple' has been constructed on-site each year, with a different theme for each event. This, along with the burning man effigy, is burnt on the last Saturday to mark the end of the festival.
A huge team of volunteers manage and police the huge Black Rock City site. The 'city' even has its own dedicated temporary airport, which sees traffic from light aircraft, hot air balloons, gliders and helicopters.
The festival runs each year, between the last Monday of August and the first Monday of September. The finale of the festival sees the burning of a giant effigy, which gives the event its name. 'Black Rock City' is then dismantled, with the aim of leaving no trace on the unique environment.