In 1978, Chris De Monterrey and Dave Warren restored and operated the Giant Camera Obscura below the Cliff House at Ocean Beach. This spectral attraction, one of fewer than half a dozen surviving in the world, was originally envisioned by Leonardo DaVinci and became a popular type of attraction at scenic tourist spots during the Victorian era.
In 1993, Chris brought his increasingly large camera obscura, usually in pyramid constructions that people could craw inside, navigating a dark, turning passageway and then, in the central chamber, contemplating a projected 360-degree of Black Rock City outside.
Chris used his creativity to earn some extra money during the early burns by selling his “Burning Man Blast Shields” — Plexiglas used to shield one from heat and fire at Burning Man.
Chris played a role in one of the oddest Suicide Club legends. In 1983, Chris and John Law, along with other Suicide Club members had explored an abandoned and about to be demolished mortuary science building on Cathedral Hill. There, Chris had discovered a five gallon bucket containing a full set of human skin preserved in formaldehyde. Chris put the five gallon bucket in his apartments refrigerator, which was promptly thrown out of his apartment. Law recommended Chris call Mark to store the skin, and Mark agreed. Seven years later Re/Search Magazine creates the book Modern Primitives, and is holding a book signing in San Francisco. Mark called several friends, who trimmed the skin and sewed it back to original condition. A well-known tribal tattoo artist agreed to tattoo the skin, and Mark had the skin mounted and put under Plexiglas and hung at the book signing. Eventually, the skin was lost to rats at SRL’s warehouse.
Blog about Burning Man by Chris’s sister, Rusty Blazenhoff