couples in love on the playa

One does not go to Burning Man with the intention of being a spectator. You for love as a participant with the intention of sharing, whether it be creating an art installation, teaching free yoga classes, helping to repair bikes, offering free grilled cheese sandwiches as a midnight snack, or handing out happy hour booze. My personal art project focused on photographing couples in love and gifting them my images. My project served as a reminder to them of the simple joy of love and the positive energy that can result. I had to get explicit permission to carry out my project in advance of my arrival. I also obtained a signed model release from each of my portrait clients. I made many new friends along the way and I came away with a rewarding experience money could never buy. Thank you thank you to my new friends. For more photos, read more about my virgin Burning Man experience and check out a few of favorite images from this awesome Burning Man wedding. wpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_01-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_02-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_03-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_04-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_05-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_06-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_07-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_08-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_09-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_10-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_11-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_12-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_13-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_15-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_16-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_17-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_18-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_19-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_20-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_21-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_22-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_23-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_24-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_25-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_26-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_27-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_28-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_29-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_30-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_31-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_32-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_33-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_34-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_35-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_36-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_37-2010-09-19-16-52.jpgwpid-burning_man_2010_metropolis_couples_in_love_38-2010-09-19-16-52.jpg

120 Responses to “couples in love on the playa”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Kern-Photo» Blog Archive » couples in love on the playa -- Topsy.com

  2. Steve Stanton — September 20, 2010 @ 11:18 am (#)

    Tasteful and Amazing! I do really love that last image at night with the psychedelic lighting in the tent and out.

  3. Joe Photo — September 20, 2010 @ 6:56 pm (#)

    Super sweet shots bro! You’ve been baptized into pure love.

  4. Michelle Simpson — September 20, 2010 @ 8:31 pm (#)

    Amazing shots. You have an eye for love.

  5. becky g. — September 25, 2010 @ 6:55 am (#)

    Wow. Really great work. I feel privileged to be able to see the work you post. Thanks!

  6. priscilla — October 19, 2010 @ 1:26 am (#)

    ive been looking all over the place for youuuuuuuu…so happy that i found you….

    im the one all the way up top with my boyfriend and his orange mohawk

  7. priscilla — October 19, 2010 @ 1:38 am (#)

    p.s thank you so much for these pictures, theres like 2 other couples that i know i would appreciate this aswell, you rock

  8. Timbshoo — January 12, 2011 @ 10:02 am (#)

    Cannot wait to take my girlfriend to the playa! I’ve been 10x. This will be her first. woo hoo!

    Thanks for the great pics!

  9. LaRoux — January 17, 2011 @ 4:24 pm (#)

    such amazing shots! you have captured so much love. it makes me 20 times more excited to go this year for my first time! keep capturing these amazing moments! it made my day!

  10. Sputnik — January 17, 2011 @ 7:06 pm (#)

    sigh….so beautiful

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  12. AydenB — February 1, 2011 @ 10:28 am (#)

    A Haiku for you:

    Through the lens of Love

    Be Real; See, Feel… Radiance.

    Week in the Desert.

  13. Pat Wright — February 8, 2011 @ 5:31 pm (#)

    Viewing love through your eyes makes me realize once more the transformation that happened to my spouse and me on the Playa. Your photos are truly inspiring!

  14. Miss — February 8, 2011 @ 5:31 pm (#)

    Thanks for sharing

  15. Rebecca — February 8, 2011 @ 5:44 pm (#)

    Awesome Pictures! You captured the emotions and people beautifully! Thanks for sharing!

  16. sally — February 8, 2011 @ 5:45 pm (#)

    beautiful stuff,

  17. marCo — February 8, 2011 @ 5:46 pm (#)

    awesome work, very clean very smooth lighting on location too.

  18. Bella — February 8, 2011 @ 5:57 pm (#)

    I love th e effect you used to make everyone looks like they were placed into the image instead of in it already. Simply amazing work!

  19. rhythmbunny — February 8, 2011 @ 5:59 pm (#)

    Gorgeous photos! Amazing natural colors are given energy and depth within the subjects is beautifully captured. Love!

  20. elkFish — February 8, 2011 @ 6:43 pm (#)

    Hey, thanks so much for including my wife and I in this series. What a beautiful thing!! My wife is the purple hula hoop seductress and I’m the Top Hat wearin’ carnie with patch worked Thai pants. We do LOVE each other!!!!

  21. Jeanne — February 8, 2011 @ 6:52 pm (#)

    Ohhh fantastic!!! Been homesick for months…thank You for the views…

  22. R. J. — February 8, 2011 @ 6:56 pm (#)

    Thank you everyone for your kind words! I am amazed to see such positive feedback. I look forward to returning in 2011 for a few days.

  23. laneym — February 8, 2011 @ 7:01 pm (#)

    Amazingly beautiful. The lighting and images captured remind me I need to get back home to the playa.

  24. bootsie — February 8, 2011 @ 7:03 pm (#)

    absolutely beautiful gift

  25. Bre — February 8, 2011 @ 7:06 pm (#)

    Absolutely stunning! I’d love to have your artistic eye take one of me and my soulmate too…maybe I’ll bump into you at BM this year :)

  26. cailin dearg — February 8, 2011 @ 7:11 pm (#)

    Beautiful !!! Happy Valentine’s day everyone !!!

  27. Jean — February 8, 2011 @ 7:30 pm (#)

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing the love!

  28. Tony Bisson — February 8, 2011 @ 7:36 pm (#)

    Rick James! Great work bro. It was so much fun camping with you. You brought so much positive energy. It’s like you were doing the work of two photographers which made it easy for me to take a year off of shooting. See you again this year. T.

  29. Deborah — February 8, 2011 @ 7:41 pm (#)

    Awesome! No pics of me and my love though! But still awesome!

  30. Pam — February 8, 2011 @ 8:06 pm (#)

    Very cool! Thanks for sharing with us newbee Burning Mans. Hope to find you this year and have a pic taken too.

  31. celia auclair — February 8, 2011 @ 8:07 pm (#)

    Wow! speechless. Very very touching, timeless, grandiose.
    You reminded me of how deeply bm and the playa touch me, and my lfe.
    Thanks for that! I will get back to creative outlet right away! and all for the glory of US; lovers of the playa! xoxo

  32. deadpen22 — February 8, 2011 @ 8:18 pm (#)

    Made me miss the playa so much it hurts!

  33. bonfire — February 8, 2011 @ 8:26 pm (#)

    …I must have been at the wrong place…did you have showers for them before they posed?
    Clean and posed. Clear skies. Weird I tell ya.

  34. R. J. — February 8, 2011 @ 8:29 pm (#)

    Yup… it rained the first day and we were treated to none other than…. a DOUBLE RAINBOW!

  35. FireHorse — February 8, 2011 @ 8:33 pm (#)

    Beautiful! Rather hetero heavy – would have loved it even more with more than one couple beyond the hetero-centric sphere!

  36. Sweetwater — February 8, 2011 @ 8:47 pm (#)

    Totally wonderful!! Thanks for publishing and making me smile.

  37. Incendra Luminaria — February 8, 2011 @ 8:59 pm (#)

    So burning beautiful. I am filled with the warmth and love generated on that magical ancient lake bed that is our Black Rock City home. I have not been home for two long years because of a daughter in battle with cancer Your wonderful pictorial of love, joy , play and happiness restores me. Thank you for sharing!
    And long love all those fabulous playa people.
    In gratitude
    Incendra

  38. Jess — February 8, 2011 @ 9:47 pm (#)

    So incredibly beautiful! Brought back the wonder I felt as a virgin burner myself. I was so very lucky to find a Playa partner that followed me into the mundane world. Somehow and for whatever reason this is becoming one of the most caring, peaceful and accepting relationships of my life. I personally think it’s partly due to the energy that surrounded us that week we met :-) Blessings!

  39. Kimisis — February 8, 2011 @ 9:54 pm (#)

    Absolutely Stunning!

  40. Jules — February 8, 2011 @ 10:09 pm (#)

    Beautiful photography! Congratulations to you on capturing the feel of such a great week. Hope to return someday!

  41. C and D — February 8, 2011 @ 10:39 pm (#)

    Thanks for takin’ us back to the playa for a 1/2 hour. Maybe, just maybe, we can make it ’til August.

  42. patrick — February 8, 2011 @ 11:21 pm (#)

    sweet, what a nice collection of couples photos. I am impressed.

  43. Mtthew — February 9, 2011 @ 12:00 am (#)

    Thank you so much! I copied the picture of the family to send to my ex wife in hopes that she will let my little 9 year old girl come this year :) Thank you!

  44. Niv Ben-Yehuda — February 9, 2011 @ 2:32 am (#)

    Love those pictures – encouraged me to create my own Couples in Burning Man 2010 photo album on Facebook. I am not as good as a photographer and the pictures here are just stunning, as was the whole event. It was my 1st year, already have the ticket for BM 2011 and trying to persuade few more London friends to join me.
    See you on The Playa in August 2011.

  45. toby — February 9, 2011 @ 3:46 am (#)

    thank you thank you thank you. its so beautiful. so much the spirit of the playa… cant wait to be back this year.

  46. Stephen — February 9, 2011 @ 4:01 am (#)

    Awesome, really beautiful

  47. cheyenne — February 9, 2011 @ 4:45 am (#)

    I remember you taking pictures on the playa. Good job, this is great. Thank you for sharing. Much love

  48. Christian — February 9, 2011 @ 6:04 am (#)

    wow…great pics…but really? only TWO same-sex couples? not a true representation of the festival.

  49. Patrick — February 9, 2011 @ 6:20 am (#)

    Saw the pics on a mates Facebook. What an incredible work of art. Beautiful pictures from even more beautiful people. You’re really good in what you do. Fantastic, Thanx.

  50. paul Kodish — February 9, 2011 @ 6:39 am (#)

    Great pics…i met the love of my life on the playa at hope and fear in 2006 xx

  51. Ben — February 9, 2011 @ 7:53 am (#)

    What amazing tasteful pics, you capture what I hope I will find when I eventually make it to the Playa!

  52. djrom — February 9, 2011 @ 8:52 am (#)

    Anyone have the feelin those pictures are fake or at least photoshoped A LOT ?
    Real background picture with transposed people on front ? They look way to clean .. ?
    Just wandering ..

  53. R. J. — February 9, 2011 @ 8:53 am (#)

    No photoshop used.. just a off-camera flash and power pack to offer a main light for the portraits on the playa during the day.

  54. Thatgirlagain — February 9, 2011 @ 9:43 am (#)

    Wonderful! Makes me homesick.

  55. Joshua Suzanne — February 9, 2011 @ 9:54 am (#)

    This will be my 11th year coming up…can never get away from the dust…..being in love on the playa must be the solution…..every one is soooooo clean!!!! (except for those 2 dirty hot gay boys)……love the photos…..thanks!

  56. Kato — February 9, 2011 @ 10:00 am (#)

    I’m with ya Christian. Where are the gay wads? Where are the lesbos? People love hot g on g action. Not to down play your photos R. J., they are beautiful and evoke a lot of emotion. I feel and believe that b.m. is the place where I am of like minded folks. As a queer person I am never afraid to be out or express myself on the playa. Therefore, I would like to see it represented in the art work. I think it would help to validate my and other queers feelings and experiences. Plus I think more than anything, the rest of the world needs to see it. Espesially in photography, because it is a realistic and mass produced high exposure media source. I know I am speeking to the choir here, but thanks for the freedom…

  57. Flirty — February 9, 2011 @ 10:03 am (#)

    Gorgeous!!

  58. Motogrrl — February 9, 2011 @ 11:00 am (#)

    Simply beautiful…..hope to see you on the playa this year!

  59. mobyjo — February 9, 2011 @ 11:37 am (#)

    I just left my desk with a dozen yet-to-be-returned phone messages, deadlines, paper stacks and bids due, orders to be routed and written, art to be proofed – to completely mentally journey back to the smell and sound and soul of the playa for just a few too-brief moments viewing your incredible photos. sigh. THANK YOU!! what a wonderful treat in february. we’ll be home soon. much love.

  60. Iblis Jones — February 9, 2011 @ 11:38 am (#)

    This is really beautiful work. And I bet you had a great time doing it. Thanks for sharing!

  61. Aline — February 9, 2011 @ 12:20 pm (#)

    You’re so talented!
    I can feel LOVE in your pics!

  62. Toot — February 9, 2011 @ 12:49 pm (#)

    Love Love Love

  63. moxie darwin — February 9, 2011 @ 1:47 pm (#)

    love these gorgeous love/luff/lust shots!

  64. Wafflefry — February 9, 2011 @ 3:08 pm (#)

    This is absolutely amazing! Such great energy from all of these pictures! I hope to see you out there this year!

  65. MrsIttyBittyKitty — February 9, 2011 @ 3:43 pm (#)

    Absolutely wonderful… takes me back to my playa wedding this year… thanks for contributing such beautiful moments and memories for all!

  66. Scott Bullock — February 9, 2011 @ 4:34 pm (#)

    Beautiful!!! Loved it!

  67. Ang — February 9, 2011 @ 6:05 pm (#)

    Thank you so much for posting these – I adore them and they make my soul happy. The goodness and pure love is not only evident in the couples faces but also the playa as a whole. Thanks again for such a lovely reminder of what love really looks like this Valentines Day!

  68. Indigo — February 9, 2011 @ 7:10 pm (#)

    BEAUTIFUL! But… do you go to the same Burning Man that I go to? None of those people look nearly dusty enough!

  69. Chris — February 9, 2011 @ 9:00 pm (#)

    What a beautiful set! Bravo!!

  70. Mr. Quibbles — February 9, 2011 @ 10:47 pm (#)

    LET LOVE RULE!!! This brings it all back! So many expressions of love.

  71. Sharone — February 9, 2011 @ 11:38 pm (#)

    Stunning photographs!!!

  72. Neil van Niekerk — February 10, 2011 @ 3:54 am (#)

    Incredible portraits. I enjoy these on many levels – from the intimacy they allowed you .. all the way to your lighting skills. Top work!

  73. Carol — February 10, 2011 @ 7:30 am (#)

    Beautiful work!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing!

  74. barry — February 10, 2011 @ 12:45 pm (#)

    would’ve been wonderful to have been part of this….i miss my wife”s love

  75. craig — February 10, 2011 @ 6:09 pm (#)

    Love these pictures ….I believe you have captured the essence soooo expertly.

  76. Ashley — February 10, 2011 @ 6:24 pm (#)

    Wow, how absolutely beautiful.

  77. mike — February 10, 2011 @ 10:00 pm (#)

    The last shot must be put out to the masses, it is an award winner for sure.

  78. Mike "Half Hour" Hermann — February 11, 2011 @ 9:44 am (#)

    Truly great shots. My enthusiasm and energy for the Burn to come has been flagging a little lately (I missed last year, am trying to go this year, it’s the middle of winter, blah blah blah). You’ve restored my faith – thanks. 8-)

  79. nicoa2000 — February 11, 2011 @ 6:17 pm (#)

    I am so glad to hear people are loving the last photo. That is our art car “The Volcano” that the people are sitting in. We remember the couple. We are so happy that love and creativity have touched so many of you. much aloha, see you on the playa

  80. ziptie — February 12, 2011 @ 10:54 pm (#)

    We are the couple with the plaid skirt (me) and black crochet dress (he) and we are soon to be married. I remember meeting you way out on the Playa, you in your Boy Scout uniform. How is your heart doing? You work filled mine right up! And thank you for capturing that look that we have just for each other xoxo

  81. Mike — February 13, 2011 @ 9:54 am (#)

    Beautiful, beautiful shots……………..I have to go to Burning Man!

  82. Kara Ayn — February 14, 2011 @ 11:27 am (#)

    So beautiful. Made me feel the love of Burning Man. I got a little choked up:).

  83. red rayvn — February 14, 2011 @ 4:03 pm (#)

    You capture the essence, the hope, the passion which is love in vivid color amidst the dust of the playa! Thank you SOOOO much for sharing! Seeing your stunningly beautiful photos AND the subsequent vibrant response brings both a tear and a smile to my heart! YAY!!! May your cup overfloweth this St. Valentine’s Day!! C’ya in the dust mate! Namaste :)

  84. MILF — February 15, 2011 @ 9:31 am (#)

    You included 2 photos of my brother and his fiance. You managed to capture so much in the look between them. The best part of Burning Man for me that year was spending time with both of them, and your photo project is a true gift. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

  85. lazydog — February 15, 2011 @ 11:36 am (#)

    Straight to the heart. Awesomely touching.

  86. Pingback: there is only love | Kern-Photo

  87. Mary Poppins in Heels — February 22, 2011 @ 4:49 pm (#)

    I don’t even know how I came onto this, but what incredible photographs! Some of these couples seem truly unaware of the photographer, so into each other they are.

  88. MERCEDESE — February 25, 2011 @ 10:09 am (#)

    These photos show the very best of Burning Man and human kind. Thanks for sharing them with us all. Love is all there is and Love is all that we really ae.

  89. Perla — March 16, 2011 @ 11:29 pm (#)

    Me gusta mucho tu trabajo!!! eres muy creativo, y te lanzas guao muy bien por ti que sigan los exitos hoy manana y siempre te deseo de corazon!!!

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  92. Fame — March 24, 2011 @ 11:19 am (#)

    Amazing and unbelievable photos, I’m impressed

  93. Stevo — March 25, 2011 @ 7:32 am (#)

    It’s like the cast of Mad Max, a truly diverse and eccentric bunch of people. Great still captures.

  94. Marcin — March 25, 2011 @ 8:04 am (#)

    I wish that this kind of festival would take place in Poland… But still – we are pretty open people…

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  96. Onnoleigh Sweetman — April 21, 2011 @ 6:18 pm (#)

    thank you for sharing this. I just lost my mother 3 days ago and seeing this pictures made me feel hopeful again… namaste

  97. kuanyinpalm — May 15, 2011 @ 10:20 am (#)

    these are stunning- such intimate portrayals of love – so many styles of love- caught in a moment.

    bravo

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  99. Holly — June 26, 2011 @ 3:08 pm (#)

    Love these, R.J. – how much fun to have complete creative license!!

  100. MERCEDESE — June 27, 2011 @ 11:06 pm (#)

    I have seen these photos previously…. .just looked at them again and the magic and joy is captured in each couple. Thank you for sharing the love that is between people and is abundant at Burning Man. So beautiful!

  101. TomaitoE — June 29, 2011 @ 2:59 pm (#)

    Very well done!!

  102. Piss Clear — July 7, 2011 @ 1:17 pm (#)

    Where are the gay couples? Looking at these, you’d think that Burning Man was just a big breeder fest!

  103. pansexual — July 13, 2011 @ 3:34 pm (#)

    Where are the gay boys and girls?

  104. Craig (AKA Spanky Pants) — July 28, 2011 @ 5:35 pm (#)

    Love your work! How can we find you this year? Or please find us at Primal Bliss & Joy (PB&J), behind the Mobility Camp on the camp side of Center Camp. Thanks!

  105. Paul "Big PHREEKY" Neumann — September 20, 2011 @ 6:55 pm (#)

    I HAD TO LOOK AT THESE AGAIN……………
    DUDE!!!!!!!!! YOU FUCKIN’ ROCK ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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  109. David Pelikan — December 16, 2011 @ 11:42 am (#)

    Some fantastic images. Well done all around. What a bunch of freaks! Makes me want to attend.

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