Photo Essay: Buddha’s Birthday in South Korea


Hi Kat!
Beautiful imagery. My take on the story : it’s a large, colourful celebration with a lot of smoke (incense and candles). I do get the feeling that people turn up to the celebration out of a sense of duty rather than a happy celebration you would find at someone’s birthday, particularly if it’s a party. In the 6th image, one of the women praying just looks like she’s clasping her hands together without feeling the need for prayer or sincerity at all. Like it’s a habit. I get the feeling from the 7th image that Buddha’s laughing at them for all their efforts and the 8th image gives me the sense that the whole celebration is inconvenient to some. I love the last image. Regardless of what else I feel the images portray, this woman looks genuinely happy and sincere in her celebration of Buddha’s birthday.
Great job!

Thanks Mel! Yes I did get the sense that people come here out of duty and not out of love. One woman almost started a fight at the temple because she couldn’t get to the Buddha statue. Especially the older generation feel a need to visit the temple, while the younger generation are almost bored or disinterested with the rituals. I do love the sincerity of the woman at the bottom, she was kind enough to let me photograph her.

Hey Kat!
great photos. from this photo-story I’m getting that Buddha’s Birthday is a big deal, and lots of people go to the festivities because they feel like they should, not because they really want to. The ceremony itself is kinda boring as people take their turn to do their duty. I get this feeling from the way you’ve shown people looking away and looking bored in the 3rd and 6th image. Also the 8th image contributes to this.
but also, i love the shot of the hands and the incense. nice work!

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