Today I hand over the camera to the novice monks from Tat Ein monastery in Shan State. I didn’t take a single one of these shots: these photos are all monks shooting monks!
Normally, I designate one monk as the assistant photographer whenever I arrive. But I think it’s become a curse of sorts; when I return to the village to visit a few months later, that monk photographer has left the monastery. It’s happened every time! Granted, these kids move around to different monasteries quite often, or some ditch the robe, grow their hair out, and resume normal village life with their family. But still, it’s a little bizarre that not a single one has turned up again.
This time around I didn’t even bother to learn anyone’s name or select a photographer apprentice hoping that might break the curse. I just handed over the camera and let them go wild! And as you can see, they did!
Actually, one of the novice monks, the boy pictured above, seemed to appoint himself the head photographer and took the bulk of the photos you see today. Wonder if he’ll be around the next time I visit, or become yet another victim of the camera curse?