Our technologically-obsessed society frequently finds it difficult to grasp the motives behind asceticism: for why should you forsake all of a person’s earthly possessions and reside excluded in society? This magnificent collection of portraits with Brooklyn-based photographer Joey L places us face to confront spiritual ascetics who’ve committed their own lives to the pursuit of spiritual liberation.
Beginning in Northern Ethiopia, Joey has traveled the globe looking for wandering monks and spiritualists. The most recent installment of his eldest Guys series includes sacred men, or sadhus, residing in Varanasi, India. Each one of the world’s faiths have their own kinds of ascetics, but the ascetics of the Roman religion are famous for occasionally intense acts of self-denial, like maintaining one arm aloft for weeks or perhaps years.
The majority of these portraits concentrates on aghori, a sect known for participating in postmortem rituals like covering themselves in individual ashes, meditating on corpses or crafting jewelry out of individual s. “The Aghori possess a deep connection with the dead. Death isn’t a fearsome idea, but a ping in the world of illusion,” says the photographer. Joey was also united in India by filmmaker Cale Glendening. Even though Joey shot his photograph collection, Glendening shot footage for “Beyond.”
Sunken temple in Varanasi, India
Left: The Aghori possess a deep connection with the dead person. Death isn’t a fearsome idea, however a ping in the world of illusion. Varanasi, India Proper: When he was young, Lal Baba’s parents arranged a marriage for him. Uncertain about his future, he hurried away from home at Bihar Siwan and ended the lifelong task of becoming a sadhu. Varanasi, India
Aghori sadhus cover themselves with individual ashes, That’s the final rite of this substance y. Varanasi, India
Lal Baba has dreadlocks (jatas) several meters long, that have been rising for over 40 years. To sadhus, dreadlocks are a indication of renunciation and a lifetime devoted to spirituality. Varanasi, India
Vijay Nund performing early rituals at the Ganges River, the most holy river in Hinduism. Varanasi, India
Batuk Pupils, Varanasi, India
Batuk Pupils, Varanasi, India
Proper: Baba Mooni Running Aghori Puja in Varanasi, India
Baba Vijay Nund about the measures of Chet Singh Ghat on the banks of the Ganges River. Varanasi, India
Proper: Magesh left a well paid job as an IT personal trainer to pursue to course of Aghora. After years of training, he discovers no desire to come back to his previous life. Varanasi, India
Ram Das aboard ship wreckage at Varanasi, India.
Aba Yohannis monastery — 74 years old “I arrived out of my village, by the countryside to find out. I didn’t go home. I chose to remain here. I have been here for 43 years.”
Proper: “Maybe I shall live much longer than 101, possibly 101 decades longer. I understand a monk who’s 80 years old, however he behaves very old. He’s not like me.”
Ascetic priest Baba Vijay Nund pops a ship across the Ganges River. Varanasi, India