Having journeyed everywhere from Mongolia to Italy, travel and portrait photographer Brian Hodges seeks a genuine connection with each of his subjects, no matter how different they might be from one another. By framing those from diverse communities against a blank backdrop, he removes them from their cultural surroundings in hopes of highlighting the shared humanity that extends beyond geographical and social barriers. Here, he explores Pushkar, India, a Hindu pilgrimage site, through a group of sadhus, or holy men.
These individuals, whose title translates to mean “good men,” often wear robes in a saffron hue to symbolize their status as a sannyasin, a person liberated from worldly and material desires. The color is symbolic of a fire, into which the sannyasin figuratively tosses his or her physical body in the cultivation of a spiritual self. The sadhu devotes himself fully to the Hindu principle of brahman, an unalterable and infinite state of consciousness. It is widely believed that sadhu rituals have the ability to rectifying and purifying karma, both for the sake of the individual and the community. Though the sadhus renounce luxury and earthly goods, their thoughtful gaze reveals a true richness of spirit.
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