‘Holy Men’ Other Worldly Portraits of South Asia’s Hindu Leaders

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These figures look more like clouds of highly pigmented dust than actual men.

The images that comprise ‘Holy Men’, a photographic project, are testament to rare sightings of Sadhus, or Babas, are wandering monks whose lifestyle aims to avoid all worldly pleasures. The Sadhus are peppered throughout India and Nepal in caves, forests and temples; but seldom glimpsed.

Rather, the men float about the landscape nomadically, occasionally spotted as an apparition in gold and ochre cloaks.

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Whilst the Sadhus are normally only seen fleetingly, if ever, photographer Ken Hermann has managed to compile a series of stills of the men. Holy Men is the culmination of a long project to track down and record these elusive figures. He explained that the men were surprisingly open to the idea of sitting for the photographs.

However, the nomadic and unconventional lifestyle of the Sadhus did cause some problems. He explained, ‘They just had a hard time understanding the project and that I wanted them on specific locations and at a specific time of day… They smoke a lot of marijuana and sometimes they forgot to show up’.

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