After spending a large part of his career in Southeast Asia, photojournalist Richard Vogel thought he had seen every type of Buddha statue as he covered various religious shrines and festivals for the Associated Press. Until he saw this one in 1996.
While on a two-year stint in Thailand, Vogel came across this uncharacteristic Buddha representation in a well-hidden part of Bangkok. "I had no idea what that Buddha statue looked like and was very surprised when I saw it," he recalls. "It had these giant feet, which was very unusual, and people were praying and putting gold leaf on it."
Vogel, who prefers to be "as a fly on the wall," snapped this quiet image of a man praying at the Buddha’s heel and left him undisturbed. Later, Vogel transmitted the image to the AP wire, where it was sent worldwide.
Today, Vogel is an AP assignment editor living in Los Angeles. Previously, he had spent 10 years living in Vietnam and three years in Cambodia, providing news and feature photography. He has also worked for Reuters and Gamma Press Images, and his work has appeared in publications such as Time,Newsweek, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Sunday Times (London) and the International Herald Tribune.
Currently, Vogel is archiving nearly 20 years of his material from Asia and hopes to put together a retrospective book in the near future.