Adventures in East Asia

Photographing Monks in Cambodia

Around Cambodia (and also Thailand), monks seemed to be fairly common around the temple sights and town streets. There's no reason why not. At Angkor Wat, we were told that some live there, as well as in Siem Reap town, and visiting temples is as much a pastime for them, if not a little more spiritual, as it is for tourists.


However, its fairly obvious after spending a short time in the country that tourists love to photograph monks. It may be because in our own countries, they're simply not as common, and the striking orange robes are certainly photogenic. I can't say any different for myself though, as I took plenty of monk subjects when the opportunities arose. The orange is a great colour against the backdrop of the ruins.


However, I'm not sure what the monks feel about it. Are they understanding of the practise? Do they feel like celebrities? Do they laugh it off or try to ignore it as an inconvenience?


After awhile, I started to cringe as I watched other tourists, blatant in their quest for the perfect monk photo. I had read online how another photographer had also observed other tourists photographing monks, even going so far as to disrespectfully tap them on the shoulder to move them into better light, as they were trying to pray.


Whatever the monks feel, I thought it was best to leave them alone and if the perfect picture was coming up, then to take it as discreetly as possible. I'll get off my high chair now, but I had to share the following moments.

At Angkor Wat, I watched as this couple blatantly followed a child monk out into a field photographing him. They were running along trying to catch up with him.


Inside, this monk was burning some incense whilst the woman in the hat constantly photographed him to his face. And I don't mean once or twice. She was snapping away every time he moved.


Below at least, some monks did consent to a mini group photo.They do seem to take day trips out too y'know.


This entry posted in : Cambodia. Culture. Tourism.

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