Surendra and the sannyasin portrait project

'Through My Lens' - by Surendra Photography

Photographic portraits of sannyasins, a project for those who live in the south of England


This project has its roots in the early days of my photography. While teaching at Ko Hsuan School in 1992, I began taking a City and Guilds Diploma in Photography. This was a modular course and I chose the art of the Portrait as one of the modules. At Ko Hsuan it was great as I was surrounded by very alive beings willing to be my subjects. I took many candid shots for publicity and also to keep a record of school events during the years I was there. For my module I chose a more classic style, studied and methodical with a still sitter and chosen background. Over the years, I moved away from portraiture in my photography, mostly exploring details and abstraction in landscapes.

Although I love working in the darkroom and creating pictures, my link with the outside world and people through photography started to feel tenuous. For many years, I had wondered about photographing lovers of Osho. We are a collection of unique indidviduals with vivid faces and I often thought of trying to convey something of our aliveness and uniqueness. My friend, the photographer Premgit, recently showed me the impressive portfolio of portraits that he had been building of the traders at Tavisock Market. This beautiful work, though a bit different in style from mine, was a prompt for me to launch this Sannyasin Portrait Project. One condition I gave myself was to ensure that none of the subjects objected to the image that I selected. At some stage I would like to organise an exhibition.

SurendraSurendra started to take photographs at Ko Hsuan in the UK in the early nineties, completed a City and Guilds Certificate in Photography at night school and, in 1994, became an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society by submitting a portfolio. He has had exhibitions in various countries including one in Tokyo in 2001. He lives in England with his partner Amrapali.


Copyright © 2010 Surendra – These photos were first published in OSHOinUK in July 2010

Comments are closed.