Photographer Colin Horsman captured the images for his Monastic Life series in the early to mid-1980s in several abbeys and priories in the south of England. The colour and black & white photos show nuns and monks in spiritual practice, religious study and silent contemplation, but also working on the farm or in the garden. One slightly alarming image shows a Benedictine monk up a tree in monastic robes sawing branches with a chainsaw.
There are other practical tasks that have to be done, such as cooking, laundry, and cleaning, but there are also many photographs of nuns working at beautiful traditional crafts, including bookbinding, sandal-making, icon-painting and calligraphy. The collection documents nuns taking part in nursing and teaching, giving a rounded picture of many aspects of the religious life.
You can view the full set here.
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