It is charming and satisfying thing that there are still places in this world where magic seems to pervade the sites, smells, and sounds of a place more than the trappings of the so-called modern world.
The Buddhist monasteries that weave in and out of every corner of this soft-spoken country are where I am home. It is feeling I cannot describe but being around the monks of Burma in their distinct red and saffron robes is home to me. I found them long ago and they have never let go. It is really the monks of Burma that bring me back so often and I miss them every day.
Burmese monks are the most open, charming, friendly, accepting, nonjudgmental people on earth. Those qualities alone have caused them to be targets of the government yet they remain open and accepting in spite of the brutal treatment they’ve endured. This is a place that has been ruled by a violent and iron fisted military junta for the better part of five decades, imprisoning those who dissented, or worse.
How two such radically different views of life – one based on fear and oppression, the other on acceptance, forgiveness, and kindness – can coexist in the same country is one of the questions that draws me back, year after year.
Photographing this particular little monk, who was very special to me, was one of the most magical moments I’ve ever had in this beautiful country. Alone and away from all the other little monklets and Monkmasters, I was able to capture him the way I had always dreamed of. Surrounded by candles, eyes closed, I could only wonder what his thoughts were. What the world was like inside his head.
I am forever indebted to the many Monkmasters in this idyllic country who give me special permission to photograph the monks. I often return, sharing my images with the monasteries and cannot wait to see their smiles when they see this image. This perfect little moment. When I look at this photograph, I know I didn’t choose this profession. It chose me.
Photograph Date: 2015
Medium: Chromogenic Print
Available Sizes: 70cm – 200cm