February 01, 2015, 01:32:00 PM

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Messages - John Thomas

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1
A nice site indeed. Keep up the good work. And I hope for the best of it.

This world needs more site like this one no matter the religion.

Yes, sure. We need to know the truth.

Thanks for the appreciation.

2
It would be nice if female visitors would finally also be allowed to Athis. Not even Annie Leibovitz - who was asked to portray people like the Queen of England and might as well be asked to shoot in Vatican and portrait the pope - would stand a chance to capture any of the (excellent) images shown on the website or anything else on the entite Athos peninsula.

High time for a change. After all, we do live in the 21st century, nit inthe 11th or 14th. :-)

I really understand you. However, I'm afraid that the fragile equilibrium which exists there will be destroyed - not that I think now at women per se, but - you know - tourism and related stuff.

Nowadays, even if Holy Mountain is, in fact, a peninsula, you can get there only by boat. Also, you need an invitation from a Monastery etc. Yeah, I know. Many would want to see it. Well, what can I say? Follow my site. :)

3
I think there is a great lesson from this website, and I do not mean any offence, or to be derogatory in any way, but a lot of people could learn from the approach...

brevity is the soul of wit.

sometimes it's not what you show, it's what you chose not to show.

a good photographer may have a portfolio of 50 really great pictures.

A brilliant photographer only needs a portfolio of half a dozen.  Sometimes less.

Thanks a lot for the advice. :)

However my intention isn't/wasn't to promote myself, but rather to document the truth from the Holy Mount Athos.

4
Hi all,

We started a new site with some unique photos at

http://asceticexperience.com/

It is for the first time when such photos are online and, hence, we want your constructive feedback. Feel free to dig the site.

All the best

John Thomas, you are a very fortunate man, my friend !  Very impressive images, and a great site.
I hope you got something special and personal from your experience/time there.


Monastic life, and Orthodoxy, are very much misunderstood, by most ppl. Thank you for sharing your exposure(s) to that world.

Many years ago, I was lucky enough to be allowed to take 11 shots in the Shaolin Monastery, and a few secret locations. It was somewhat life-changing.

Do you have any plans to shoot in other countries also ? like with the same theme !

Anyway, thanks again, and good luck dude.
 

Thanks a lot for your nice words.

Yes, shooting monks is a real game changer. And I don't mean it from professional POV only.

OTOH, about Orthodoxy and monastic life: you're right. That's why it is a great responsibility on my shoulders as a photojournalist.

About other countries: we'll see what God wants. :) Just follow the site.

5
Very nice images.  The site appears to have been quite a lot of work.  Great job and good luck with it!  :)

Thanks a lot! :)

Photos are starting from... ...I don't know exactly. :) 2004 I think.

The site's idea and all the stuff started to get contour ~ 5 months ago.

Love that you like it.

6
And by the way: If you like it, do share!  :)

7
wow ... many great images. To me, in one way the website itself resembles an iconostasis ... a wall of religious images ... set in lots of gold. It is countercated with the images and despricptions of monastiv life, the emphasis placed on the lives of humble, devout monks, the circle of the lithurgical year with its great feasts and religious traditions preserved and passed on through the centuries.

Apparently you had very privileged and close access ... and the status as an "embedded photographer" has been used very well to tell a compelling story of religious life at current day Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos. 

At the same time it appears to be a part of a PR effort to get out of the twilight this very monastery has been under since 2008 and all through the troublesome years of the of economic and political crisis and collapse in Greece. Things have not only been as humble, pious and good at this very monastery as the website would want to make us believe. Vatopedi monastery was a the center of a huge, controversial land deal and subsequent financial scandal, which led to a number of greek government ministers having to resign from office and eventually got the monastery's abbot and another monk who had been in charge of the monastery's commercial and financial transactions to jail. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatopedi_monastery

Thanks a lot for your appreciations!

Yes, I'm a close friend of them. The images are covering a range of time from before of controversy till nowadays and they're depicting the reality. I didn't thought about a PR thing from my side, but somehow I'm glad about this.

Indeed the monastery was caught in the middle of political interests and it was very hard to them (read: impossible) to defend themselves. Just one monk was gone to jail in a so-called 'preventive arrest' and it was set free after some time after - it was just a political move to get some votes. Anyway, I don't want to enter in these details. What's more important, I think, is that I'm trying to depict a very different way of being which was/is - especially in this case - quite different from what one from outside thinks.

If you want to post/show something more just ask.

8
love the pic of your bearded man leading the donkeys through the verdant hills

Thanks! It was quite an experience shooting this. He is a very nice person as well.

9
Hi all,

We started a new site with some unique photos at

http://asceticexperience.com/

It is for the first time when such photos are online and, hence, we want your constructive feedback. Feel free to dig the site.

All the best

11
Canon EF Zoom Lenses / Re: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« on: January 11, 2015, 05:18:48 AM »
The lens is very good for any kind of portraits (especially low-light ones) because allows us to separate the subject from surroundings and to shoot from some distance, giving stunning results. For example:

http://asceticexperience.com/portfolio/lord-loves/
http://asceticexperience.com/portfolio/spechless/
http://asceticexperience.com/portfolio/prayer-effect/
http://asceticexperience.com/portfolio/whole-world-lies-sway-wicked-one/

12
Lenses / Re: Canon 28-300L 'super-zoom'
« on: January 08, 2015, 04:34:50 AM »
I find it quite useful.

Of course, it is heavy but there are situations when you cannot afford swapping the lenses (for me the main reason is that the things are happening quickly in front of me) or you cannot afford to carry more than one lens with you (for ex. trekking).

Quality is good - no complaints from my side. A slight barrel distortion at the wide end but this is to be expected.

Some examples:

http://asceticexperience.com/portfolio/joy-sacrifice/
http://asceticexperience.com/portfolio/contrast/
http://asceticexperience.com/portfolio/why-animals-attack-humans/
http://asceticexperience.com/portfolio/holy-monastery-kostamonitou-kastamonitou/
http://asceticexperience.com/portfolio/chain-reactions/

Just my2c & HTH


13
Portrait / Re: Post your best portraits(street, studio, candid etc...).
« on: January 05, 2015, 03:15:56 AM »
Some inner workings from a world unknown outside of the Holy Mountain.









All of them from http://asceticexperience.com/

Comments welcome.

14
The critical question:

Does ML work with the latest 5D3 firmware?

The version 1.2.3 of the firmware has enough time now in our cameras, however ML supports (AFAIS) just 1.1.3

It is so hard to fix / test it against 1.2.3?

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