Since Tom Coyner first made landfall in East Asia – in Tokyo in 1970, weighed down with camera gear – he has built up a photographic archive of life across the region.
Of particular interest to the American, who now lives in retirement in Seoul, South Korea, has been the role religion plays in the region’s cultures – on both the pompous and pedestrian levels.
While religions are suppressed in some Asian societies – notably China and North Korea – the region boasts a rich tradition of religious activities. Indeed, the continent has birthed the majority of major world religious – Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam – but is also home to multiple little and little-known sects worshipping their very own god, gods, goddesses and spirits.
The gallery below focuses on Asian clergy, and guides us across the continent in a (roughly) east to west progression. Next week’s gallery will refocus from religious people to religious places – the shrines, temples, mosques and other material places – that function of locations for worship across Asia.
To see the full collection of Coyner’s work on Asia religions, please click here