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Inspiration

‘Holy Men’ – a Divine Portrait Series by Joey L.

By Hanssie on March 7th 2014

Readers of SLR Lounge are no strangers to the work of Joey L, a Canadian photographer, who is best known as the creator of the Twilight movie posters. We’ve featured his work and tutorials a few times before, as he always generously t shares his knowledge.

[REWIND: Learn From Joey L. in his ‘Killing Lincoln’ National Geographic Ad Campaign]

 

As a personal project, Joey L traveled to Varanasi, India to create images for a series called, “Holy Men” focusing on featuring religious ascetics from around the world. Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world and the “epicenter of the Hindu faith.” Joey L traveled there for the third time a few years ago and captured the following evocative images:

Aghori sadhus cover themselves with human ash, which is the last rite of the material body. Varanasi, India

Aghori sadhus cover themselves with human ash, which is the last rite of the material body.

The Aghori have a profound connection with the dead. Death is not a fearsome concept, but a passing from the world of illusion.

The Aghori have a profound connection with the dead. Death is not a fearsome concept, but a passing from the world of illusion.

Joey L. features the Sadhus and religious students in this series, all of them living lives very different from our own. Having left all earthly possessions, his home and family, Sadhus lives on the generosity of others, and are often seen as healers and earthly reminders of the divine.

Joey L‘s passion is to travel to the edges of the world searching for unique people and places that challenges our world view.

Vijay Nund performing morning rituals in the Ganges River, the most sacred river in Hinduism.

Vijay Nund performing morning rituals in the Ganges River, the most sacred river in Hinduism.

Ram Das beside boat wreckage in Varanasi, India.

Ram Das beside boat wreckage in Varanasi, India.

When he was young, Lal Baba’s parents arranged a marriage for him. Uncertain about his future, he ran away from home in Bihar Siwan and took up the lifelong task of becoming a sadhu. Varanasi, India


When he was young, Lal Baba’s parents arranged a marriage for him. Uncertain about his future, he ran away from home in Bihar Siwan and took up the lifelong task of becoming a sadhu. Varanasi, India

Joey L‘s Gear List

Lal Baba has dreadlocks (jatas) several meters long, which have been growing for over 40 years. To sadhus, dreadlocks are a sign of renunciation and a life dedicated to spirituality.

Lal Baba has dreadlocks (jatas) several meters long, which have been growing for over 40 years. To sadhus, dreadlocks are a sign of renunciation and a life dedicated to spirituality.

 Lal Baba’s life is to travel. Even at 85 years old, he will continue to travel from holy place to holy place in India and Nepal.

Lal Baba’s life is to travel. Even at 85 years old, he will continue to travel from holy place to holy place in India and Nepal.

Magesh left a well paid job as an IT computer consultant to pursue to path of Aghora. After years of practice, he finds no temptation to return to his old life.

Magesh left a well paid job as an IT computer consultant to pursue to path of Aghora. After years of practice, he finds no temptation to return to his old life.

Batuk Student, Varanasi, India

Batuk Student, Varanasi, India

Baba Vijay Nund on the steps of Chet Singh Ghat on the banks of the Ganges River.

Baba Vijay Nund on the steps of Chet Singh Ghat on the banks of the Ganges River.

Sunken temple in Varanasi, India

Sunken temple in Varanasi, India

 Portrait of Shiv Ji Tiwari

Portrait of Shiv Ji Tiwari

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the making of the series, “Holy Men,” titled, Beyond: Varanasi, India, which can also be found on his tutorial website, Learn From Joey L.

To see more of Joey L‘s amazing work and projects, check out his website: http://www.joeyL.com and blog http://www.joeyL.com/blog.

You can also connect with him on Twitter: @joeyldotcom and Facebook: Joey Lawrence

CREDITS: All photographs by Joey L. are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

[via @Joey L.]

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Nice photos

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  2. Orlin Nikolov

    Woow :)

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  3. Jacob Jexmark

    Great images!

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  4. Moko

    Wonderful Technique and Lighting. But kinda of a cliche topic coming from a top notch photographer.

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    • WLennonPhoto

      Joey has been shooting these subjects for a long time, i believe this was his 3rd time visiting the same people in India. He always stays in contact with his contacts and this connection is part of what gives him the connection with his subject.

      It may be Cliche now, but when he orginally started these subjects there was very little other work like it, im sure many of the other images were inspired by him.

      ill stop sounding like a fan boy now ;)

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  5. gonzalo

    Amazing work and portraits, both technically and artistically very powerful!

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  6. Stacy Baugher

    Beautiful images. They really relay a sense of tranquility with each subject. Thank you for sharing with us.

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