Blog

Sharing my experiences of this beautiful world that we live in through photography. And some geeky tech photo stuff.

How to Photograph a Monk on the street

December 24, 2013  -  Monks & Priests, People, Photography Tips

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This photo was taken a few years ago. I was walking along one of the smaller streets in Jaipur in Rajasthan (India) to get away from the hectic traffic when I noticed this sadhu sitting on the side of the street. As soon as I saw him I knew I had to photograph him.

I don’t want to be judgmental but as I got closer to him I got the feeling that he was not really a sadhu (monk) but rather someone who dressed up as one in order to receive alms or have photographers like me take photos of him.

Most of the time I ask when I photograph people. So, I went up to him and asked if I could take a portrait of him. Sure enough he very readily obliged but said I needed to leave a donation. Fair enough. He needs to earn a living and I want his photo. A fair trade. I was not there to find out if he was a really sadhu or not. Just wanted his photo. So, since I was paying for this opportunity I got him to pose up against a wall, adjusted my camera to the right settings then took this photo.

Photo Tips:
Here’s a photography tip on photographing a monk on the street. If you are traveling and come across such an opportunity don’t let it go. What little money he asked for was nothing in comparison to the photo that I have enjoyed looking at many times. Most people get offended when the subject requests money. I personally think it is a fair trade. I asked them they did not ask me.

Also, since you are paying for the photo, take your time to get your camera settings right, right angle, lighting etc so that you get the shot that you want.

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Painted Faces of Hindu Monks and Priests

June 6, 2013  -  Monks & Priests

Hindus wear markings on their forehead for many purposes. Some markings denote the sect they belong to, others tell if a woman is married or not, and some have deeper metaphysical reasons. Hindu priests and monks can often be seen wearing the most elaborate of facial markings. The markings are made of holy ash, sandal paste and a red powder called kunkumam which is made from turmeric or saffron. Here’s a collection of photos of monks and priests with facial markings…including one of myself taken by friend and New York based fashion photographer Andre Schneider.

Hindu monk in Nepal.

Hindu monk in Nepal.

A 106 year old Hindu monk in Nepal. Photographed in 2010.

A 106 year old Hindu monk in Nepal. Photographed in 2010.

This is me...

This is me…

A Hindu priest that belongs to the Vaishnavite sect.

A Hindu priest that belongs to the Vaishnavite sect.

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Prayer in Motion, Nepal

May 11, 2013  -  Monks & Priests, Religions

A series of photos showing prayer in motion. They were taken in Kathmandu, Nepal, as pilgrims circumambulated the Boudanath Stupa, one of Buddhism’s most sacred shrine, while chanting on prayer beads.

An old lady walks slowly around the stupa while chanting on her beads

An old lady walks slowly around the stupa while chanting on her beads

Buddhist monks are among the many worshippers that make the walk around the stupa.

Buddhist monks are among the many worshippers that make the walk around the stupa.

Boudhanath Stupa on a cloudy drizzly evening. Kathamandu, Nepal.

Boudhanath Stupa on a cloudy drizzly evening. Kathamandu, Nepal.

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Portraits of Sadhus, holy men of the Kumbh Mela (Part 2)

February 3, 2013  -  Monks & Priests

I’m almost in India. A 5-hour transit here in Dubai and then our flight to Kolkata where our spiritual adventure begins. On February 9th we head to Allahabad for the spectacular Kumbh Mela festival. I’m eager to pilgrimage to this holy event as well as take photos. Here’s more photos of sadhus I’ve photographed.

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A sadhu is dripping wet after his bath in the sacred Ganges river.

A sadhu is dripping wet after his bath in the sacred Ganges river.

Naga Sadhu

Naga Sadhu

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Portraits of Sadhus, holy men of the Kumbh Mela

February 2, 2013  -  Festivals, Monks & Priests

As I get ready to leave for the Kumbh Mela festival later tonight I felt inspired to share portraits of some sadhus I had photographed over the years. Sadhus, Hindu holy men, are a big part of the Kumbh Mela festival. Thousands come out of seclusion to bathe in the confluence of the holy Ganges and Yamuna rivers in the town of Allahabad in northern India. I’m eager to photograph as much as I am to pilgrimage to this sacred event.

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A sadhu smears ash all over his body and face under the evening sun.

A sadhu smears ash all over his body and face under the evening sun.

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