This is a young monk of the Vajrayana branch of Mahayana Buddhism. This is a sub sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
He is from a beautiful temple in the hills above Katmandu, Pul Hardi Ghompa. This magnificent temple confuses the locals because it has hundreds of monks and a huge building, but it in never opened to the public. In fact, I was with the amazing Bhante Sanu, my student, who is a Nepalese Theravada monk. He has never failed to get us into any building however, private it may be.
He disappeared into the Vihara (the living quarters) and late returned with this monk. The doors were opened and we were allowed to examine the sumptuous and vast interior. In fact their privacy is because; they do not see themselves and running public services. The mediate and chant the sutras for hours in order to earn merit for the world. They see themselves as working for the peace and welfare of the world but in secret. This temple is very famous, and it is possible for people who are known to take part in the ceremonies. A very famous Hollywood film star was due to arrive the day I was there. This monk has a very typical Nepalese look. I notice that, despite his good looks, he has quite bad acne. I have noticed this lot on Tibetan monks. My friends joked that it was because they don’t wash too much, living in the cold mountain tops with little and very cold water. I don’t know if this is true.
This monk had a far away look in his eyes as I photographed him as he waited for us the finish out tour.
Critiques | Translate
startacked (1331) 2007-07-31 11:26
Great note! 'Working for peace and welfare for the world'. This weekend I read an article in one of the biggest newspaper of the country. It was about the majority of the early 30 year old people in this country. They have everything: their car, house, nice job, vacations, little family and it is not that they don't want more but they are not really happy because they want rest and balance in their life, they need something to focus on. Monks got their goals straight and I wonder if they are more balanced and happy. I think so. TFS, Gilbert
siolaw (37640) 2007-07-31 22:58
Nice portrait of this monk, not disturbed by the camera, and , as you told me your student gets you in any closed temple... a nice way to discover places rarely seen... Nice colors tones and strong contrast contribute to the mood! I like his expression!
I sent you a mail this morning! ;D
Silke (3027) 2007-08-01 5:18
Was he meditating? Was he dreaming of other places? Was he waiting for a friend? These are the unanswered questions that are posed by that expression. Superbly caught, and well-composed. A fabulous posting to which I shall have to return tomorrow
Senk (2303) 2007-08-07 10:39
hi Lung, very clear one good job, did u buy new camera?
Manamo (3654) 2007-08-16 8:27
good portrait! it looks a bit staged, but still, the expression on his face his very natural and very interesting. I think you were pretty close to him!
2 minor drawbacks that I can see(not my style of photos, so I got now credibility:D ) is the light that is quite flat and the negative space which should naturally be in the direction of his look.
The 2 blue stripes on his shoulders make him look more like a basketball player...;)
Acne can have several cause, including not washing his face...but many other factors can influence...
Morac (27419) 2007-09-27 8:08
Dans cette photo c'est le regard qui me marque.
Il donne une présence très forte au personnage. Il permet presque de saisir l'âme de ce moine.
ben4321 (9875) 2007-10-12 11:34
I just had a look through your interesting gallery, and I think this is my favourite portrait on the first couple of pages. Others are better in terms of framing and so on, but here you've really caught something - a real connection with your subject.
I'd suggest a different framing though - easy to say when looking at images from the comfort of my sofa and a quite different matter when you're out in the world taking photographs, but bear with me...
With the way he's looking out of frame to the left, I think shifting the framing so that there was more space in front of his head than behind would have worked better. Maybe there was something out of frame to the left that you wanted to exclude though.
I'd also have preferred it if you'd used a wider aperture, if that was possible - even though the background is out of focus it's a bit distracting, the bright patch directly behind his head especially. If you were shooting wide open already, using a longer focal length would have given more isolation from the background.
It also looks like you applied sharpening to the background, which can often have an adverse effect on the look of out of focus areas - better to apply sharpening to just the areas that need it.
Excuse the long-winded critique - sometimes I like to go for a more in-depth look at an image.
I like this shot - you've done the most important and the most difficult thing in portraiture - captured something of the real personality (some would say soul) of your subject.
Good work Kevin.