Compass of the Ephemeral: Aerial Photography of Black Rock City through the Lens of Will Roger (Hardcover)

Compass of the Ephemeral: Aerial Photography of Black Rock City through the Lens of Will Roger Cover Image
By Will Roger, Phyllis Needham (Editor), William Fox (Contributions by), Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet (Contributions by), Harley Dubois (Introduction by), Alexei Vranich (Contributions by), Crimson Rose (Contributions by)
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Nevada artist and Burning Man event co-founder Will Roger photographs the ever changing cityscape and transformation of Black Rock City as it changed throughout the years. The book contains a substantial collection of aerial photos as never seen before. A photographic collaboration between Will Roger and Burning Man architect Rod Garrett, Introduction by Burning Man co-founder Harley Dubois. Contributions from Independent scholar William Fox and Archaeologist Alexei Vranich, Available in hardback format, 216 pages.

About the Author

Artist, Author, Teacher, Innovator + Environmentalist

The desert of North America and beyond is a place of enduring mystery, power, and natural beauty. It is a ruse that this space of earth possesses a kind of blank canvas quality, and man is so often tricked into believing that the desert can be owned, harnessed, conquered, and taken. The winds will show such ambitiousness the truth, through veils of heavy sand—blinding, erasing, wounding, starving, and burying. For its unrelenting power, beauty, and majestic spirit, many artists have come to love, respect, and even fear the desert. This dualistic way of interacting is very much at the core of American artist Will Roger’s photographic practice.

Will is a conservationist, creator, and teacher. Having served as Chairman of Sierra Front, North Western Great Basin Resource Advisory Council, and President of the Friends of the Black Rock-High Rock, he is the sort of forward-looking artist and radical thinker you would want to know. His approach has an openness and fearlessness that we could all learn from. So, after encountering his work, it is no surprise that this man is also a cultural co-founder of Burning Man. In all of his work, Will requires of his audience openness to the power and mystery of the natural world, whether it be from a panoramic aerial perspective of the Black Rock Desert, the multi-faceted and intellectually engaging black-and-white photography, or his deeply sensual studies of flowers. There is a playful fluctuation between object, participant, viewer and voyeur.

Will began in analytical chemistry, working as a photo chemist at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Interested in finding new ways to understand the world, he would go on to earn his MFA in photography and serve as an Associate Professor of photography at RIT, working at the prestigious institute for twenty years. There, he created and taught the course, “In Search of the Mystical Image.” Today, Will is noted for his creative formal or technical approach, notably a distinctive style of stop-motion photography. Moreover, the artist’s work is well respected for a fluency of movement, certain enigmatic lyricism, and a truly esoteric quality that fascinates.

As one develops intellectually and artistically, physical movement is often the impetus for real growth. So, seeking a new space and challenge, in the early 1990s, Will decided to move to California and focus on portraiture. He would eventually become involved in the gathering of risk takers and creativity of Burning Man. The extraordinary freedom would act as catalyst for new and exciting work that seems to exist between two worlds: the surrealist photography of early twentieth century Europe and the Bacchanalian spirit of this world-renowned desert event. As well, the heroic and fantastic allure of the desert would come to be a key motif in the artist’s work, including astonishing aerial photographs.

A Fullness of Form and Emptiness

Will’s signature in-motion style gives the impression of a dancing world of loveliness, both in the erotic dancer studies and in the flower series. From Will’s erotic portraits to his images of underwater ecologies or the grandiose beauty of the desert, one experiences a fullness of form and an emptiness, allowing both balance and intrigue. Will is a creative tour de force whose luxuriously beautiful photos intersect with a sense of the analytical; critics say this is a man who makes his subject dance through light, color, and stop-motion photography. Within this movement, there is a certain freedom to the work, a place where bold color, dramatic landscapes, or charged images of sexuality merge with quiet space.

A man fulfilled

Will Roger spends his time between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Black Rock Desert region with his partner and muse, Crimson Rose. He has authored two books, Compass of the Ephemeral: Aerial Photography of Black Rock City through the Lens of Will Roger and In Search of the Common Shaman, which will be released in 2019.

Phyllis Needham is an American professional that provides editing and proofreading services to publishers, businesses, organisations, academic institutions and individuals. Needham has extensive experience in the areas of editing, copy editing, english grammar, proofreading, ghost writing, and other publishing needs.

William L Fox is a writer, independent scholar, and poet whose work focuses on how human cognition transforms land into landscape. He was born in San Diego and attended Claremont McKenna College. He has edited several literary magazines and presses, among them the West Coast Poetry Review, and worked as a consulting editor for university presses, as well as being the former director of the poetry program at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

In the visual arts, Fox has exhibited text works in more than two dozen group and solo exhibitions in seven countries, served as the Associate Director of the Nevada Museum of Art, and then as the visual arts and architecture critic for the Reno Gazette-Journal.

In 2001-02 he spent two-and-a-half months in the Antarctic with the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Visiting Artists and Writers Program. Fox has also worked as a team member of NASA’s Haughton-Mars Project, which tests methods of exploring Mars on Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic. He currently is the lead strategist for the Art + Environment initiative at the Nevada Museum of Art.

Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet is one of the co-founder the Department of Public Works of Black Rock City and has been City Superintendent for twenty years. Known as the “Bard of the Desert”, telling stories around the campfire is among the things he does best. He has been blogging under the moniker of “Coyote Nose” for many years, and he is Burning Man’s first Storytelling Fellow.

A founding member of Black Rock City LLC, Harley K. Dubois has over 25 years of project management, art and city planning experience. As the City Manager of Black Rock City for over 10 years, Harley oversaw both the Playa Safety Council and Community Services departments, ensuring the citizens of BRC are happy and safe, including ingress, life on playa, and egress. She originated theme camp placement, the Greeters, Playa Info, and Burning Man Information Radio, and has kindled the development of all other Community Service teams. Harley also created and maintains a comprehensive training and self-development program for the Burning Man staff, fostering volunteerism and cross-departmental communication.

Alexei Vranich received his B.A from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He has extensive research experience around the world in such places as Spain, Italy, India, Peru, and Bulgaria, and Costa Rica. He has been recognized by the National Science Foundation for the innovation application of technology in the study of the past. Bridging the divide between academic and popular archaeology, Alexei has appeared in television and in magazines such as National Geographic, The Sciences, and Archaeology Magazine, in addition to a variety of national and international newspapers. Alexei conducting his archaeological research on Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire.

As a co-founder of Burning Man, the Black Rock Arts Foundation and Burning Man Project, Crimson Rose’s life passion and work have focused on the arts and artistic expression. She began participating in the Burning Man event in 1991, and developed the organization’s Art Department, including the infrastructure, financial and other support services that make possible the large-scale participatory art works that Burning Man is renowned for. With Crimson’s guidance, Burning Man serves as an inspirational limitless canvas, the works of which now find public placement in cities around the world and serve as catalytic sparks for community collaboration. Instigator of the creative energy and Creative Director of the Fire Conclave, the largest gathering of fire performers in one place at one time in the world. Others creative endeavors include: land art, textiles, watercolors & assembles.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780977880652
ISBN-10: 0977880656
Publisher: Smallworks Press
Publication Date: June 18th, 2019
Pages: 216
Language: English