Under the heading of what photography means to me.....
I try to go to interesting places and make interesting photographs that, hopefully, others also find interesting. But, many times I'm in places that are interesting, but the photography doesn't turn me on. Very often, particularly if the experience is unique, I will make images and/or short videos just to capture the experience. I really don't care about the technical or even the artistic quality, just documenting the experience. Recently, a good example of this part of my photography occurred. We were traveling out west visiting friends in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Now, each year a special event occurs and our friends took us to experience the Burning of Zozobra. We stood out in the rain on Labor Day weekend for the Burning which kicks off a fiesta in Santa Fe that started in 1712.
Over 40,000 people attend the burning. One of ideas behind the whole thing is to come to the burning with a piece of paper on which you have written all the things that caused you gloom in the past year. They are all collected before the ceremony and placed at the base of the effigy, to be burned with it. After the ceremony there is no more gloom in Santa Fe. A great way to start clean for the future.
Here is my recording of the event:
All of the images and video were shot with the Sony RX100M4, which I think is the best point and shoot camera available. Various settings were used but most of the time the camera was in manual mode at iso 3200.
And, a short video showing the different stages of the action:
Finally, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia describing the event and its history: "
Zozobra ("Old Man Gloom") is a giant marionette effigy that is built and burned every autumn during Fiestas de Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As his name suggests, he embodies gloom; by burning him, people destroy the worries and troubles of the previous year in the flames. Anyone with an excess of gloom is encouraged to write down the nature of his or her gloom on a slip of paper and leave it in the "gloom box" found in the offices of the Santa Fe Reporterin the weeks leading up to the burn. Many people put legal papers in the gloom box as well. At the festival the papers from the gloom box are placed at Zozobra's feet to be burned alongside him.
Fiestas de Santa Fe has been held since 1712 to celebrate the Spanish retaking of the city in 1692 by Don Diego de Vargas from the Pueblo tribes who had occupied the city since the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The burning of Zozobra dates from 1924. Santa Fe artist and marionette maker Gustave Baumann came up with the idea of creating the effigy, also called Old Man Gloom, and the ritual burning; and then conspired with his friend William Howard Shuster, Jr. to burn the first Zozobra. Zozobra means "anxiety" in Spanish. Baumann's idea might have been influenced by Mexican cartonería (papier-mâché sculpture), especially the effigies exploded during the burning of Judas that takes place on Holy Saturday or New Year's Eve, as a way of ridding oneself or one's community of evil.
Today in Santa Fe more than 50,000 people go to watch Zozobra, who stands fifty feet tall. His burning marks the start of three days of celebration that includes traditional mass at St. Francis Cathedral; a reenactment of the Entrada, when Don Diego de Vargas returned to the city; a Children's Pet Parade; and the Historical/Hysterical Parade. The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe builds Zozobra and burns the effigy at Fort Marcy Park."