Italian photographer Elido Turco spent four years between 2004 and 2008 exploring a mirrored photography world that remains invisible to most of us. By taking photographs of tree bark and then mirroring the photographs he captured, he discovered a whole society of “Dream Creatures” were watching him each time he would take a stroll through the mountain paths.
Turco loves walking the mountain paths of his native Friuli with his wife, and for years he would use this time to try and find human forms and faces formed by the bark and roots of the trees in the forest.
The catches, he admits, were few and far between until, one day, curiosity got the best of him and he decided to mirror an image on his computer. What he discovered was “a world of… fantastic creatures” the he had never realized existed.
The mummified body of deceased monk Luang Pho Daeng sits enclosed in a special glass display case, like a quirky, macabre statue. He is the main attraction at Wat Khunaram, a temple on the Thai island of Ko Samui where visitors are welcomed with cool shades and a deathly grin.
The figure sits wrapped in his bright orange monk’s robes. Perched above his nose is a pair of dark Ray-Ban sunglasses, completely hiding what’s left of his eyes.
Luang Pho Daeng was once the abbot at this temple. The monk’s body was manipulated into a simple meditative pose following his passing in 1973 at the ripe old age of 79.
It is believed that Luang Pho Daeng predicted when he would pass away and left instructions detailing what was to be done with his body when the time came. If it decomposed – as one might expect it would in the warm, sticky climate of southern Thailand – he was to be cremated. If, however, his body evinced fewer signs of decomposition, his wish was that it be put on display.
Luang Pho Daeng hoped that his preserved corpse would be a source of inspiration to forthcoming generations – an influence on them to act upon Buddhist teachings and so help save themselves from the endless suffering of life.
Because Luang Pho Daeng spent the last days of his life in deep meditation, fasting and refraining from speaking, some have suggested that this may have slowed down the decaying process after death. If this is true, it may explain why his body is so surprisingly well-maintained.
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