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The Searchers Examines the Western Pursuit of Nirvana

 - Aug 26, 2014
References: sashabezzubov & featureshoot
Brooklyn-based photographers Jessica Sucher and Sasha Bezzubov dedicated an entire year of their lives to 'The Searchers,' a three-part project chronicling Westerners who look for spiritual wisdom in the east.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but spirituality has become big business. Though it is relatively inexpensive for Westerners to dabble in, the 'spiritual tourism' industry earns an appreciable profit. Both Sucher and Bezzubov consider themselves spiritual seekers, familiar with several of the communities they later photographed. At its heart, the project examines the insider/outsider dichotomy evident within the industry.

Though the two set out to create "a sort of anthropology of tourism," they found that their subjects were made up of more than just the stereotypical western wanderer, and they encountered several inspiring individuals who had committed to a more permanent way of life. Despite the variance in their subjects, the issue of cultural appropriation remains implicit in the series.