You will find beautiful Buddhist temples throughout Laos but it is the human side of Buddhism, the saffron clad monks and students, that makes the most engaging and iconic photography subject.
Photographing monks can be intimidating, but it need not be. It helps to have a basic knowledge of Buddhism, so read a guide and approach people with a sense of respect and quiet.
For this shot in Vientiane it was a dusty evening as I walked next to the Mekong River. As the sun set the hazy sky began to turn a deepening orange and I quickly sought a distinctive subject to outline against it. Spotting the monks with their parasol on the river embankment, I rushed ahead as they approached a young man on a motorcycle. The resulting silhouette is a juxtaposition of old and new, sacred and secular, relaxed and active which reflects the parallel strains in Laotian life and culture.
The single shot of the monk sweeping was taken one quiet morning in Luang Prabang. I saw this solitary elder monk at a temple entrance. Using a long lens and moving to frame him against the dark background I was lucky to catch a lone backlit leaf in mid-air.
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