Men of God
In a world where enjoying one hour of silence is a rare privilege, one can still find small communities searching for spiritual peace through silence, humility and prayer. This is how devout followers of various beliefs find meaning for their lives in monastic orders, as well as shelter for living in harmony with themselves and others. Above all, they yearn for the opportunity to approach their own God.
During my work on monasteries, I became engrossed in capturing the cornerstone of monastic life: praying. It is that one moment that gives meaning to the lives of those who would be monks. The monk’s devotion during prayer is the most intimate moment that, for me, best communicates his faith.
I have never before done portrait photographs. The oft-quoted saying that the face reveals the “soul” does not convince me. A face can conceal as much as it can reveal. Our awareness of a photographic lens converts us into designers and managers of our appearance.
I had to find the right environment and make sure the subject was not aware of being photographed in order to broach the concept of devotion I wanted to convey.
The endless religious services of Orthodox Christians held inside poorly-lit churches offered the ideal ambiance to capture that intimate moment.
I regard these portraits as “impersonal”—the focus is on conveying a state of mind that transcends the subject.