Ascetics with Cameras

Most (travel) photographers who venture to the Kumbh Mela, India or any where foreign to them in general, tend to photograph anonymously. That is, it’s quite the norm to take pictures of people with out knowing who they are, much less actually consider what's in it for the subject. Furthermore few photographers make considerable effort to give a copy of the image to their subject.

Something very important to Ascetics with Cameras mission is ensuring the ascetics receive the photos they pose for.

“In a way I’ve also acted as somewhat like a liaison between Juna Akhara and others with cameras. I make sure to give them my card with email so they can email me the photos and I can print it for them, trying to explain to them how important it is for them, at least they can get something out of it. I have begun to see more and more photographers giving their photos back to their subjects. I certainly hope this trend picks up.” – founder / director, Nicole Jaquis

Ascetics with Cameras (free of cost to the receiver) gives prints to the ascetics photographed (by a various photographers using digital cameras), during the Kumbh Mela and thereafter. Your monetary donation makes this possible:
• donations can be safely made via paypal

This is a project I started at the 2004 Kumbh Mela (largest gathering in the history of the world) in Ujjain, and has been on going ever since. This will be the 4th Kumbh Mela where I will be conducting all aspects of multimedia seva for Juna Akhara (the oldest and largest order of male & female naga sanyasis).
- mission #1 - giving away as many photos as possible

Your support is greatly appreciated.
monetary donations will pay for paper, ink, film developing and other printing costs.

please and thank you
om namo narayan
Nicole Jaquis

ps. more mission videos to follow shortly

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Ascetics with Cameras


Ascetics with Cameras is a seva (volunteer service) organization providing multimedia services, tools and training to Shiva’s Army – the sadhus & sadhvis of Juna Akhara – since 2004. It is our mission to, not only provide…

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Ascetics with Cameras is a seva (volunteer service) organization providing multimedia services, tools and training to Shiva’s Army – the sadhus & sadhvis of Juna Akhara – since 2004. It is our mission to, not only provide multimedia tools to document and preserve the living-histories of these followers of Sanatan Dharma, but more importantly to train the members (of the oldest and largest order of Dasnaami Hindu ascetics) to document it for themselves. Giving them the skills to share with the world the stories and aspects of their culture they find important, will empower these ascetics to participate in the process of media-making to which their Akhara has been subject for centuries and enlighten audiences to the sacred, ancient paths and esoteric traditions of truth seekers.

This channel will feature segments from both the “Her-Story” Video Production Program and the Juna Akhara Documentary Project.

The Juna Akhara Documentary Project is an ongoing project to create a series of short videos about and by the Ascetics of Juna Akhara themselves. Videos range in subject matter from personal self portraits to pilgrimage places, from their various sadhanas (spriitual practices) to their various philosophies, from sanskar (initiation rites) to samadhi (funeral rites), all according to the video maker’s ideas.

Most anyone familiar with yoga, mediation, Kumbh Mela, Juna Akhara or Hindu Ascetics in general know what is a “naga baba”, few know what is a mai (a female ascetic) or that they even exist in the first place. The “Her-Story” Video Production Program gives voice to the female ascetics of Juna Akhara, those often overshadowed by their naked and ash covered brothers, empowering them to share with the world their own stories of what lead them on this path and what they found once they embarked upon it.

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