Notes: As a photographer who normally shoots famous celebrities and jet setting super models, this unique project was a huge departure from my normal every day way of professional life. In the end it helped me grow tremendously as an artist and broadened my interest and appreciation for the art of photography.
The Shaolin Temple Project initially started out as a scouting mission for my friend Jonathan Eubanks who had signed on to design an educational and entertaining marketing campaign for the Shaolin Temple and brought me aboard to consider the photo and documentary film aspects of the campaign.
I was given full access to the mostly private and secluded world at this 5th century monastery and it’s famed Pagoda Forest in Dengfeng, China.
The two kungfu monks you see in these photograghs were very generous in showing me their daily rituals and martial arts techniques while allowing me to capture them both on camera and video. I wanted to capture them in an energetic and cinematic way as each click of the shutter felt like the frames of a motion picture.
Since we previously didn’t know that I would actually be able to photograph these monks on this 1st trip, I came without my usual crew and gear except for my Canon 5D + 7D. This series was shot pretty raw and I feel that it enabled me to capture the spontaneous magic happening before me without any fuss or technical distraction.
The results speak for themselves and by enlarging the prints to 40×60 for this current show, the images come alive and become totally cinematic as was always my intention while shooting.
We will continue to pursue the project goals which include a documentary film to be shot on location in Dengfeng China.
Drop by the CamerichLA showroom in Los Angeles between now and March 18th. Fellow artist Heins Kim has some extraordinary sculptures on view as well.