Junsik Shin, "NaMu 4", 2005, c-print.

Junsik Shin, “NaMu 4”, 2005, c-print.

Junsik Shin

“All things are quiet and constantly changing, however it’s not changing. All things itself is the truth, yet only thing moving is my mind.”

– Yum Hae

I take pictures of monks in their state of meditation. Usually they meditate for 10 to 12 hours a day. My exposure is solely dependent upon the longevity of their sitting per session which typically lasts between one to three hours. What makes them spend so much of their lives sitting in one place? What are they looking for? What am I looking for through taking pictures of them?

The answer is very simple: ‘the absolute truth’, in Buddhism. ‘The Enlightenment’.

Monks too frequently suffer from the inevitable imperfections of being human, as many other ordinary people do, until they reach Enlightenment. The slight movements recorded in my images are symbolic of their human struggle to reach Enlightenment. But all things remain including their middle mind. As burning incense, monks are burning the time; their mind’s suffering as well as themselves for seeing the Absolute truth.

I, too, am following their path in my own way through the photographs I am taking. Photography is my medium in a search for the absolute truth.

Junsik Shin was raised within a Buddhist community in Seoul, Korea. He earned a degree in Fashion Design from Kook Min University in Seoul. After moving to the US, he received his BFA and MFA from Parson’s School of Design. In 2007 Shin had a solo exhibition entitled “NaMu (Tree)” at Peer Gallery, NYC which represents his work.