Photo Essay

In The End, We Are All The Same

Monk Photographer

It is hard to spend any time in Bangkok without a regular sighting of a monk dressed in an orange robe. The monks act as a symbol of Buddhism and are seen as a novel attraction by tourists, but beneath their striking, vibrant uniforms are real people who have all the desires and needs of 'normal' humans, struggling to find balance and a sense of place and belonging in this materialistic world.

These photographs explore the relationship between the monks' spiritual world, and the temporal world in which they also exist. Through the exploration of Bangkok's dual existence as a commercial and spiritual centre, we see the sociological gulf that separates visiting tourists from those who make this place their spiritual home. At the same time, we see the spiritual acting within the temporal, reminding us of the universality of all human values. The humble, traditional presence of the monks seems to exist in an alien environment, yet it is this same environment that provides context for their lives.

At times the photographs are poignant, at others they may provoke laughter, as we come across something that juxtaposes with our preconceptions. Combined, they provide us with an important message, that in the end, we are all the same.

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