Devotion

Over five years I photographed both the intimate and epic nature of several faith traditions: private moments of prayer and meditation alongside monumental scenes with thousands of pilgrims in dramatic landscapes. This journey took me to the Himalayas and the Andes; the republics of the North Caucasus, Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan; to the remote and holy Mount Kailash on the Tibetan plateau; to a Kurdish village in the Zagros mountains of Iran; to Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in the world; and to the highlands of northern Ethiopia.  I saw commonalities that transcend faith and frontiers – the use of prayer beads, the practice of pilgrimage and the devotion to shrines to name a few, and of course just as many differences.

Across borders and amidst scenes of deep devotion I encountered poverty, superstition and repression. I saw, as is the case in most religions, women excluded from the privileged domains of men. However, I also experienced the beauty of the human spirit and a shared desire to connect to something greater than and beyond ourselves.

Many of these ancient traditions are now being lost to the forces of globalisation, mass tourism, political oppression, religious extremism and even global warming. I hope that this project is in some small way a testament to the importance of these traditions – traditions that reflect a shared and fundamental aspect of the human condition that dates back to the dawn of time.