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12 Photos That Define the Wild Spirit of Burning Man

Radical self-expression + fire + art.

It started as a bonfire lit by two friends in 1986, and has since turned into a weeklong experimental art and culture festival drawing 70,000 attendees each year. Burning Man brings crowds to the desert of Black Rock, Nevada, to live out their interpretation of a communal utopia. For one week, no cars, no stores, and mandatory "radical inclusion" dictate the culture in the sand-covered anti-capitalist haven (though, as its critics have noted, the $425 ticket to live for a week off-grid is an expense only the wealthy can afford). The festival ends with the symbolic burning of a giant wooden effigy, aka The Man. A week after arriving, the thousands of attendees depart with the goal of "leaving no trace" - one of the principles of the festival. Here are 12 images that define the spirit of Burning Man.

BURNING MAN, BLACK ROCK CITY, NEVADA, USA - AUGUST 29, 2013: This is a DigitalGlobe satellite image 'overview' of the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City Nevada. Imagery collected on August 29th, 2013. (Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images) DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d/DigitalGlobe/Getty Images A TEMPORARY CITY Tens of thousands of people descend on Black Rock, creating a temporary city with a grid layout. With no stores, trading and gifting are the only way to acquire goods and services such as food, gear, or even dance lessons throughout the week. 377801 06: Flames shoot from an 'art car' as it drives across the desert during the15th annual Burning Man festival September 2, 2000 in the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nevada. Despite high winds, dust storms, and a bit of rain, some 27,000 people camped out on a remote desert playa, or dry lake, for the week-long counter-cultural celebration of art and 'radical self-expression.' This year's theme was the body. (Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers) David McNew/Getty Images ART CARS Traditional vehicles are banned, but art cars or "Mutant Vehicles", are given an exception. The speed limit in the temporary city is 5 mph, so Burners go all-out in decking out their vehicles without worrying too much about functionality. Here, an Art Car is accessorized with a torch. BLACK ROCK CITY, UNITED STATES: A girl drives a bike on the Black Rock City desert in Nevada 29 August, 2000 as she attends the Burning Man festival. An estimated thirty thousand people will attend the festival, a spontaneous encounter of artists, performers and spectators, where the audience is expected to interact and collaborate during a week long event. AFP PHOTO (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) Hector MATA (Photo credit should read HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images) HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images DIY VEHICLES Bicycles become the main mode of transit for those navigating the pop-up landscape, often decorated with DIY accessories. Atmosphere at the 2003 Burning Man festival. Blackrock City, Nevada. USA.; Job : 16054 Ref : JHY (Photo by John Horsley/Photoshot/Getty Images) Photoshot/Getty Images 'RADICAL SELF-EXPRESSION' One of the 10 principles that guide Burning Man, "Radical Self-Expression," is on full display everywhere you look. Atmosphere at the 2003 Burning Man festival. Blackrock City, Nevada. USA.; Job : 16054 Ref : JHY (Photo by John Horsley/Photoshot/Getty Images) Photoshot/Getty Images FREE SPIRIT ON DISPLAY 377801 16: People drum on a percussion junk pile despite a blinding dust storm caused by strong winds September 2, 2000 at the 15th annual Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nevada. Despite the high winds, dust storms, and a bit of rain, some 27,000 people camped out on a remote desert playa, or dry lake, for the week-long counter-cultural celebration of art and 'radical self-expression.' This year's theme was the body. (Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers) David McNew/Getty Images DIY ATMOSPHERE Atmosphere at the 2003 Burning Man festival. Blackrock City, Nevada. USA.; Job : 16054 Ref : JHY (Photo by John Horsley/Photoshot/Getty Images) Photoshot/Getty Images SANDY WIND The winds in Black Rock routinely sweep up sand to create sand storms, a defining aspect of the Burning Man landscape. Face protection is key. POP-UP STRUCTURES Photoshot/Getty Images POP-UP STRUCTURES Artists create intricate installations, such as this gigantic three strory structure built in the 2003 festival. All of the installations are temporary, and either moved or destroyed at the end of the week. LARGER-THAN-LIFE SCULPTURES Jim Rankin/Toronto Star via Getty Images LARGER-THAN-LIFE SCULPTURES In addition to the building-like structures, hundreds of sculptures are erected for the festival. Atmosphere at the 2003 Burning Man festival. Blackrock City, Nevada. USA.; Job : 16054 Ref : JHY (Photo by John Horsley/Photoshot/Getty Images) Photoshot/Getty Images BURNING THOSE SCULPTURES And hundreds are burned at the end. BLACK ROCK DESERT, UNITED STATES: Stuntman Ted Batchblor(lower R) sets himself on fire as he ignites the neon-lit Burning Man statue on the last night of the week-long 'Burning Man Festival' 06 September in the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada. More than15,000 people congregated at this man-made town in the desert to celebrate radical, creative self-expression. AFP PHOTO Mike NELSON/mn (Photo credit should read MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images) MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images THE MAN The name of Burning Man comes from the annual construction and immolation of a giant sculpture — representing the destruction of The Man and mainstream ideals. BLACK ROCK CITY, UNITED STATES: A group of people lie on the ground for a community nude picture by a fashion photographer at the Black Rock City's playa during the Burning Man Festival in Nevada 02 September 2000. An estimated thirty thousand people attend the festival, a spontaneous encounter of artists, performers and spectators, where the audience is expected to interact and collaborate during a week long event. AFP PHOTO (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) Hector MATA (Photo credit should read HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images) HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images ANYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE Self-expression can look like a lot of things, especially in the scorching Nevada desert.