Photos by Joey L
Joey Lawrence (known as Joey L) is a Canadian commercial photographer, director and published author based in Brooklyn, New York. Although he is recently best known as the creator of the Twilight movie posters, he is also known to have a deep interest in endangered cultures, traditions and rare religious practices. As a personal project, Joey traveled to Varanasi, India to create images for a series called, “Holy Men“. While focusing on featuring religious ascetics in one of the oldest cities in the world and the “epicenter of the Hindu faith”, he was able to capture evocative portraits of actual holy men for this series.
In addition to the portraits, he was accompanied by filmmaker Cale Glendening, and Ryan, a close friend/assistant, to also create their documentary titled, “Beyond“. The short film features a behind-the-scenes view of their experience in this third world, along with an emphasis on the photographer’s subjects, and mesmerizing and sometimes bizarre lifestyle.
Most of the portraits focus on the Aghori, a sect known for engaging in postmortem rituals, such as covering themselves in human ashes, meditating on corpses or crafting jewelry from human bones. “The Aghori have a profound connection with the dead. Death is not a fearsome concept, but a passing from the world of illusion,” says the photographer. Check out the photos below and find more on his website. Also be sure the see the eye opening documentary here.