I am often asked and have written about the difference between fine art and commercial photography. There is a complete essay on my website in the Artist section that addresses the question, “What Is Fine Art Photography?” which can be read HERE.
As I consider this image of a young monk I made during a visit to a temple in Burma, I am reminded of how fine art frames a subject without erasing and, most often, by amplifying and connecting humanity. This boy is a person, not a product. The purpose behind the photograph is to respect grace, generosity, growth, and harmony, not the dissonance and grasping nature of commerce. I am in the business of moving hearts, not products.
In this alcove of sculpted space that is a natural part of the architecture and leads to other areas, it seems to me this young monk is standing in the womb of the temple. He is young in his physical and spiritual development and within this portal, he will be nurtured, allowed to grow, fully embraced—before being released into other spaces, into life and the larger world.
His purpose might be internalized, his reasons for becoming a monk are a story that is his to tell. But manifested, his work along with other monks is self-enlightenment that is meant to be shared, delivered, offered in service to the world. Selfhood falls away in this alcove, as it does in fine art photography, and leads to greater connections among all living things.