Three days in a Monastery by Richard Landberg

Three days in a Monastery

by Richard LandbergHis Instagram here: @Landberg

I have recently spent three days together with two monks in a monastery. I have long been fachinated by people who choose to live an alternative lifestyle. Especially if they have chosen their lifestyle because of something they believe in. I have started a new photo project where I will meet people who choose to live an alternative lifestyle over time.

Living in a Catholic Monastery for three days was a real special experience.There is not that usual for outsiders to stay in the monastery like I did. Often you stay in a guest house that is connected to the same chapel but not to the monks living area. There are many rules that can be difficult for an outsider like me to understand in the beginning. There are prayers and worship services several times a day. The day starts at five in the morning and ends around eight in the evening. Apart from the prayers, most of the day pass by in complete silence. They eat in silence. It is quiet in the general spaces. The food is simple. The rooms (cells) are simple. In each room there is an icon representing the Holy Mary, and a cross with Jesus.

I did not know how I wanted to portray the monastic life before I got there but I was struck by an incredible calm as I stepped into the monastery. Therefore, my pictures are quite calm but with lots of space around the objects.

I hope I can return and expand my photo series.


Rikard Landberg


  1. Wow! Absolutely enjoyed these photos! The calm stillness is apparent in each! A real sense of the silence is tangible! You’ve truly captured the spirit of the place and special calling! Thank you so glad to have experienced these!

  2. Richard I appreciate : Inwardness of monk with glasses put aside kneeling.
    Along with dedicated studiusness monk in library.

    Says something about your sensitivity.

    I had thought of joining a Monastery. However being around only men didn’t appeal. Were there Doggies, Birdies, Farm animals, other Nature’s creation in Monasteries then I would be encouraged.

    I understood some reasons a person would wish to join a Monastery as I felt those reasons . However Creation is Life Colours. Jesus was full of Life, Love, Nature. As the Buddha said still water has no life.

    I admire Monks steasteadfastness upholdong this lifestyle. Encouraging in this technology material driven world observing persons withdrawn.

  3. Your images really convey the stillness and silence of the place and your experience of it. That you were allowed to take photos was a typically a-typical act of monastic hospitality! I was a little surprised that there were only two monks: three is normally considered the minimum for a “community”. I hope you will be able to visit again and discover the interplay between silence and the market-place.

  4. Terrific work. I love your style – it’s the kind of deliberate, disciplined approach that makes for good photography and good cinematography as well. There are no ‘snapshots’ here. 🙂

  5. Personally, I enjoyed these minimalist photos very much. It is as if you could feel the silence and reminded me of a movie called “Into the Great Silence,” about Carthusian monks in the French Alps.

      • No, it is not a useless comment. Only if you believe in a life after your death, and you believe in a god who has a relation with you, then it’s a good life. If you don’t believe in these things and have no religion, then you can say that it is a useless excistence … saying it’s a useless comment, with no explanation, that is a bit agressive … Amen, with all my respect to religious people.

        • saying- it`s useless existence, with no explanation, that is just as a bit agressive too. Beside it, monks life is not a entirely selfcentrated selfish endeavour. It shows the world one more dimension to existence and there are many other and different variations of monastery life.
          p.s. Richard, perhaps a bit ot of place technical suggestion. What about trying softer older lenses, perhaps single coated. My old Summilux 1.4/35 preasph. gives an out of world soft halo at full aperture.

        • Even if someone does not believe in God or a life after death, and even if someone believes that such kind of life would be useless for himself, why would he say it is useless (in general)? Strange behaviour.
          By the way I believe there are many more possible reasons to spend time in a Monestry, even if the religious part is not strong. (For example to have some time to focus the mind on certain things, without being disturbed by our western consume and efficiency driven world, where economic growth seems more important than the future of our nature and planet earth).

  6. Only one thing missing: where is the monastery? Yes, it’s not in Cuba nor Nigeria nor South Vietnam because of the snow, but where?

  7. Very interesting. Capturing the monastic life is a challenge. You have started on an interesting journey.

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