Almost every religion on the planet has its own version of asceticism, in which holy men and women abandon material desires in pursuit of their own ideas of spiritual liberation. Brooklyn-based artist Joey L is particularly amazed by these austere individuals, devoting an entire photography series to his experience meeting the world's ascetics.
Titled "Holy Men," the series features images from India and around the world, depicting figures like the wandering monks of Varanasi, one of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism. Joey L traveled with filmmaker Cale Glendening and photographer Ryan McCarney to capture his global project, which was later turned into a 40-minute documentary film, "Beyond," using the behind-the-scenes footage of their adventures abroad.
Commenting on his ascetic portraits, Joey L stated to Peta Pixel:
"I began the Holy Men collection with a photo series from the North of Ethiopia focusing on Coptic Christianity. In this new series, Sadhus and religious students are the featured subjects. Although Coptic Christian monks and Sadhus live in different corners of the world, the connection all these subjects have to each other is profound... Their reality is dictated only by the mind, not material objects. Even death is not a fearsome concept, but a passing from the world of illusion"
Scroll through the slideshow below to check out more images of "Holy Men" and let us know what you think of the portraits of wandering monks in the comments section.