Dodge & Burn: EAV Earth Day Festival

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Dodge & Burn is a series of photo essays documenting local culture with a focus on artful imagery, movement, and light.
The 2012 East Atlanta Village Earth Day Festival began with the grand reopening of the East Atlanta Farmers Market featuring fresh, locally grown vegetables and a variety of other local products including fresh bread, soap, mushrooms, and granola. The festival also included lantern making, kids’ games, a lantern parade, live music, jugglers, hula hoops, short films, and volunteers from WonderRoot selling recycled items.
As a BURNAWAY photographer that covers a lot of art events, I can get a little jaded at times. But this event had something that most art events do not: lots of small children. As an artist, it was inspiring to see how focused the children were in making their lanterns. From picking out the right box to the final touches of paint, they treated it as serious business.

Visually, the most fun of the night came right before the parade started. Many people purchased “wishing lanterns.” Shaped like big paper balloons, each lantern has a large opening at the base where two crossed wires support a big flame that, when lit, causes the lanterns fill out and begin to rise. Once fully heated, the owner lets the lantern go, and it floats and glows into the night sky. You can see more photographs of the lanterns on the BURNAWAY Flickr site.
The parade ended in Brownwood Park, but the evening was far from over. Rebecca DeShon of Hoop Essence set parts of her hoop on fire, and later, a juggler from Imperial OPA lit his sticks on fire before tossing them in the air. I had already maxed out my camera’s ISO setting to capture the wishing lanterns, but shooting DeShon and the juggler required a lot of concentration. This is where having professional camera gear is of great benefit. Most consumer cameras have limited ISO ranges, so shooting in the dark is difficult. Also, lower-end cameras have a hard time focusing in such low-light conditions. Having a good camera with a fast-focusing lens allowed me to capture good shots even under the circumstances.
I was certainly tired after five hours of shooting on a Thursday night, but I enjoyed the event, was well fed, and came away with some nice images. And where else around town can you get “Dinosaur Kale?”
Check BURNAWAY’s homepage for new photography every week, and watch our Flickr account for regular updates!

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