plus one
Learn From Joey L
Beyond: Varanasi India

Varanasi, India: “Beyond” Documentary

December 10, 2012 //  Travel Stories Back to posts

It’s been a long time in the works, but Cale and I just finished the final touches on this behind the scenes documentary about our trip to Varanasi, India. It follows my friend/assistant Ryan and I as we complete my photo series- “Holy Men.”

Cale and I were trying to think of different ways of sharing “Beyond.” Should we sell it on a DVD or Blu-ray? Should we make some kind of tip-jar? After pondering all these ideas, we finally just decided to put it for free online. We want as many eyes to see it as possible, and nothing to distract from the message of the film. Enjoy.


Created by: Cale Glendening, Joey L., Ryan McCarney

Directed by: Cale Glendening

Edit/Color: Chris Dowsett, Cale Glendening, Joey L., Megan Miller, John Carrington

Original Score: Stephen Keech, Tony Anderson

All Photographs: Joey L.

Guiding/Translation: Raju Verma, Tejinder Singh

Graphic/Titles: James Zanoni

Special Thanks: Jesica Bruzzi / BH Photo, Kessler Crane

Back to posts


Rikki D. Dy-Liacco // December 11, 2012 00:09

Awesome job Joey! Amazing photos, video, and human emotions!

David Newland // December 11, 2012 00:30

Humbling, inspiring, fascinating, amazing.
One of the most interesting documentaries I've ever seen.
A lot of respect and admiration for you and your team for not only getting some amazing and educating footage but also the hard work and time taken to travel to these unique places.
Many thanks for this - loving every second of it.

Matt Leitholt // December 11, 2012 00:58

Phenomenal work everyone, I've been thinking about going on a trip like this for some time now and want to even more. I really appreciate how you dedicate your time to bonding with a few groups of people and getting to know them. Your work always inspires. Thanks Joey/Cale/Ryan.

- Matt

Jason Koenig // December 11, 2012 01:05

Thank you guys for sharing. I'm moved by the love and respect you guys show for your subjects. You inspire me, thank you. I've been an admirer of your work since you were 16. I recently bought I legit printer to travel with to give prints to the communities and individuals I get to photograph around the world. This video made me stoked for our next trip.

Jason Koenig

Ryan // December 11, 2012 01:06

Fantastic work guys!!! Lovely camera work Cale. The composition on some of the frames is stunning! Cant wait to see the images.

And thanks for sharing this for free!

Arsenii // December 11, 2012 01:47

Loved it! Great job, Joey!

David // December 11, 2012 01:52

Hi Joey,

Thanks so much for posting this online! I can't wait to watch it later this afternoon.

Safe travels!


Lydia // December 11, 2012 02:19

Thank you so much for sharing this video! I really enjoyed it and admire your work.

J Lim // December 11, 2012 02:22

Simply awesome!!

Aswin // December 11, 2012 02:39

I just loved the documentary :) As an Indian i feel u guys have captured, composed and presented it in the most beautiful way it can be done :) :) next time when u visit India try the southern parts too :)

wenzel // December 11, 2012 03:06

Truly astonishing.

Alex Leon // December 11, 2012 05:22

I wish i wish i wish I could assist, once, just once... Great story, great project, thanks for sharing.

Jude // December 11, 2012 05:49

Thank you. I've learned lots from this.

Ricky // December 11, 2012 05:56

Stunning work, just wonderful, hope some day get to do one of these my self...

Paul M // December 11, 2012 07:04

Great job everyone!

Wish I could go on trips like these with you.

Nicholas // December 11, 2012 07:13

As an aspiring videographer, this is the kind of project I dream of one day making. Having been to Varanasi in 2010, I was too scared to walk around and relate to the people like you guys have. What an amazing job by all of you. And I'm sure the photographs are ridiculously profound.

Yasmin Tajik // December 11, 2012 07:15

As someone who's heritage is from that part of the world, I want to commend you all on a job well done. Many times photographers and videographers go and document what they see but do it in a way that does not respect and honor their subjects, no matter what their social or religious status is. I think you all did your jobs and accomplished your goals in a respectful manner and I really appreciate that. I enjoyed this documentary and will be sharing it with others. Great job!

Wends of Journeys and Travels // December 11, 2012 07:51

Impressive as usual Joey and Cale as well as Ryan. This is a great way to document ones journey in life and this one is inspiring me to pursue piously my planned trip to India. :)

Simon Thomas // December 11, 2012 09:29

Fantastic cinematography Cale, combined with an amazing score made it a real viewing pleasure to watch! Awesome adventure Joey your work is very inspiring, and props to you for sharing it for free. :)

To top it off, your new book just arrived at my door!

Simon , Brisbane Australia

rose campiglia // December 11, 2012 10:31

Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational documentary with the world. We are ONE and peace is the answer. With gratitude to you Joey and your team for an exceptional job.

Richard Martin // December 11, 2012 11:02

Trully amazing, no doubt you do inspire a lot of photographers in all levels and fields. I myself is inspired by your works. And hopefully can do the same adventure your doing. Thanks for sharing this video, thank you for showing the other sides of the world that other people are not aware of. :)

V Tran // December 11, 2012 11:20

I'm glad you're willing to share this great documentary with everyone online. Varanasi is such a unique place and watching the video reminded me of the time I visited it. Fantastic work from everyone involved in the project!

Ejaz Mehedi // December 11, 2012 11:28

Finally! I was speechless when I watched seconds of footage of this documentary on Cale Glendening's reel. You guys just have made the right decision Joey.Many thanks for giving us a documentary with such a different approach. Keep up the good work :)

eva-maria // December 11, 2012 13:39

Absolutely amazing! With my passion for India and working as a retoucher, this must be one of the best project I've ever seen. Wish I had been on this trip. Thanks …

Tina // December 11, 2012 16:16

Just watched this! Found it through a friend Kate Gazaway's Facebook post and just wanted to say, WOW! Amazing work and I really appreciated how you guys spent time to get to know your subjects and really interacted with them. Thereby, giving something back to them and not just taking!

I just went to Varanasi myself and am still enamored by the city! Hope I can go back there some day!

If you guys are ever in India again, would love to help out! :)


BRAM FILMS // December 11, 2012 19:54


antonybphoto // December 11, 2012 21:26

Guys, out of the park on this one. I particularly like the items on what not to do with food abroad, a lesson for all. India = vegetarian + clean hands + clean water

Well done Cale for telling a great story. I hope it brings you the rewards and karma you three deserve. very entertaining and responsible tourism which I promote hugely.

Steve Glass // December 12, 2012 00:15

THANKS. BTW love the book!

Arjun Krishna // December 12, 2012 00:52

Thank you so much for coming to our country and being with us, and to have connected with us so well :)

Larry Lohrman // December 12, 2012 01:04

Amazing! Great work guys.

Tim Williams // December 12, 2012 01:41

Mate, this is absolutely stunning! I am just about to finish a book called 'Shantaram' set in Bombay and through reading this I am developing a deep love for India.

I love everything about this documentary. Thanks for sharing...


John | GPS Uhr Test // December 12, 2012 01:45

Thank you so much! The music is great aswell. Truly professional!

Aron // December 12, 2012 02:02

Simply amazing. I felt like I was there. The visuals, the people, and the music were all inspirational. Thanks for your hard work!

Richard Benton // December 12, 2012 02:52

Thank you for an early Christmas present.

Ben // December 12, 2012 03:26

I saw the link to this video via Strobist, and tried to start watching it at work, I quickly realised it wasn't to be watched half heartedly so left it until I could watch it at home and give it the attention it deserved!
Wow! what a phenomenal trip! I love the way you go so much deeper than plain travel photos or journalism, the way you built up such great rapport with people from different cultures shows why you are so successful. The images you got were extrodinary and the documentary was truley captivating!
Thanks so much for creating this


Noa Magger // December 12, 2012 03:37

Thanks for being such an inspiration, guys. Joey, Cale and Ryan. I watched the entire thing just now and was moved by every second of it. As a photographer and as a human being all together. Your voices come all the way to Israeli photogs too :) I appreciate your hard work. Truly do. Thanks again for making this. xo

Benji // December 12, 2012 05:52

That was absolutely amazing. I would say more but I am speechless.

mark g // December 12, 2012 09:23

perfection. emotional and spiritual ride... thanks for driving. stunned.

Ravi Upadhyaya // December 12, 2012 10:40

SIMPLY SUPERB!!! I have seen many many documentaries of Varanasi - this one ranks among the best. The stills are astounding in terms of every aspect of photography!!

The video motivates me to look at even the drab and mundane and see a story in it!!

Thanks Joey, Cale and Ryan...

Siddhi // December 12, 2012 10:59


waterbuffalo // December 12, 2012 14:06

Thank you for sharing this awesome experience with us. The photography is top notch.

Amar patel // December 12, 2012 14:21

its totally mad work !!

its make me shame begin Indian i even wont be able to explore my own country the way you guys did :) truly amazing work..


Ronan // December 12, 2012 19:34

Another gem... Great analyse and respect of the people. That's how people should be!
Will you go for amazonian tribes one day?

Stephen Devlin // December 12, 2012 20:11

Guys, awesome work! Many thanks for taking the time to share the experience.

All the best,


Anja // December 12, 2012 21:34

Wow, a great video!!!
Greetings from Germany!

Dave // December 13, 2012 04:00

Just came back from India a month ago. Varanasi is incredible and most of the time overwhelming place. I know I will go back. Your amazing work proves that waking up at 4Am is worth it! Thank you very much for sharing!

Michele C // December 13, 2012 11:07

Amazing Documentary! Very well done. I love that you get to know the people that you are photographing. It makes it so much more than just a photograph... it is truly capturing who the person is!

Kingsley Burton // December 13, 2012 14:13

Thank you. Incredibly moving. Incredibly beautiful. Kingsley

Ryan // December 14, 2012 02:52

Amazing job you guys! Very inspiration and educational at the same time, huge fan! I am curious about who sings the song at the begining when you are on your way to India if anyone knows. Thanks!

Ian MacMichael // December 14, 2012 04:55

Sheer class.... Nice one...from Ian, Liverpool, UK.

Ofir Abe // December 14, 2012 16:12

music matched so good.
message was beautiful.
you could almost forget that this is the place with worst smell ever!

well done.

William // December 15, 2012 03:02

Wow, this was beautiful and incredible. Thank you so much for sharing it with us all. What a unique look into a culture many of us have no real grasp of and wouldn't without pieces like this.

Jonathan Menga // December 15, 2012 07:40

great work from a fellow Canadian. Nice documentary.

Gunjan // December 15, 2012 20:00

I was lost in another world, very beautifuly you have captured the essence of varanasi.. the pious Varaniasi.

Susan Bowen // December 16, 2012 07:50

Thank you for sharing this amazing journey. I loved the images and the documentary treatment of your trip. The respect and curiosity for your subjects shines through. I look forward to seeing where you go with your life's passions.

Josiah // December 16, 2012 08:04

Inspiring. Great work, want to see more! JC, Cleveland, Ohio

Jenna Julianne // December 16, 2012 11:37

Outstanding! Thank you for capturing the world! I also LOVE your book! THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone who created this film.

Kirsten Hahn // December 19, 2012 18:59

Just came across your video and just couldn't stop watching it - actually would love to watch it over and over again! So beautiful!!! Thank you :-)

Elise Sambrano // December 20, 2012 20:36

This was so incredibly touching. Not only are you all so gifted but you see the meaning of this life and seek it out for the rest of us to appreciate. Thank you for the beautiful photography and video. It is amazing work.

Sudhindra Pranesh // December 23, 2012 00:16

Very nice work. Thanks for potraying people with dignity.

Brendan Seaaton // December 24, 2012 03:17

I've been to Varanasi. I'm most impressed at how you captured the spirit of the place. Well done... and good for you putting it up for all to view. Your thoughts and views of the world are an inspiration.

Marc // December 25, 2012 17:06

Finally a non-sensationalism documentary on aghoris. Thank you so much, Magesh through your picture fascinates me

Don Shader // December 25, 2012 19:48

What an awesome video. I love following your work, Joey.

Natacha // December 27, 2012 11:15

Your film is really really wonderful... We went in Varanasi in april 2012 with my husband and three children... these pictures touch my heart deeply... you should maka a dvd.. the file is 'heavy' for my computer... or a book...oh, yes, a book!

Thank you!

Sergio // December 28, 2012 16:57

I just arrived from Varanasi. Seeing this documentary makes me want to pack again and go there again!

Excellent work.

TRISIA // January 06, 2013 19:48

i've been this place 2 years ago, after watched the video it's make me wanna travel there again, i miss the mantras, the smell of flowers, the river, the colors....

Lee Duguid // January 08, 2013 06:11

Stunning work guys, that was epic.

joe rob // January 08, 2013 22:45

great stuff

Nas // January 10, 2013 04:50

Great job Joey! Pictures and the whole documentary was moving. I'm sure this was one of your very memorable experiences.

Jay Stovall // January 12, 2013 17:04

Thank you making this available for free.
This is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.
Like a great book, I had to stop every once in a while, to digest it, savor it, and feel blessed that can experience it.
You guys did a fantastic job.

chris hahn // January 15, 2013 20:54

what an amazing beautiful piece of work, enthusiasm, courage, determination, professionalism. this so deserves to be seen !!! RESPECT ! i hope and know this experience will not only enrich your life in a crazy way but also put you guys out there on the forefront of today's independent photo- and videojournalists. way to go man ! again: AMAZING ! and thx a lot ! for sharing. best, chris

Cory Stewart // January 17, 2013 16:06

Wow that was a great film, very inspiring and your photograph is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

sebastian wahl // January 20, 2013 02:53

what a great film! thank you for sharing it with everyone : )
amazing photography too!

Rolph // January 20, 2013 06:11

Incredibly beautiful and profound and touching and respectful and I love it and I love the way you work. May you be forever blessed!

Soven Amatya // January 22, 2013 01:11

Absolutely beautiful.

Stacey M. Curry // January 24, 2013 22:23

So glad someone posted a link to your work! All so incredibly moving! Someday I would like to visit and see and learn...Thank you so much for sharing! And keep up the GOOD work!

Alexander // January 30, 2013 23:52

Damn.. beautiful video guys. Absolutely amazing.

Nicolás // February 02, 2013 09:16


Nicolás // February 02, 2013 09:17


Ashutosh // February 04, 2013 13:38


Clay // February 06, 2013 04:37

Thank you for reaching out, taking action, and sharing this part of the world.

Linda Ferguson // February 10, 2013 10:31

Stunningly beautiful! Thank you for sharing your dedication and respect that you have all shown in this most incredible documentary. I will be sure to share this with everyone I can. If only all people could have these simple, honest beliefs that you have portrayed so beautifully. Thank you!!

Mladen // February 11, 2013 17:56

Been there 2 years ago! Unforgettable place! Thank you for back me there!

A. Doshi // March 03, 2013 22:31

Amazing amazing frames, videos and transformational talks with the revered holy men! may Grace be with you always.

Aleksandr // March 08, 2013 05:36

Excellent approach Joey! very nice what you are doing with your friends and very inspirational as well.

Nicolas // March 13, 2013 07:02

I don't now what to say, but congratulations or maybe thanks for this amazing work.

Sadhana // March 16, 2013 20:51

Superb work ,seriously from last two days just watching your Website , Absolutely amazing work. Varanasi is my dream place, being Indian not gt chance to cover the city till now, by your work i will learn lot and this will help me lot in future And this was beautiful and incredible. Thank you so much for sharing it with us all.

ULLAMARON // March 21, 2013 23:20

Gud work Joey.

Krishna Chaitanya Pudari // March 27, 2013 08:07

Awesome documentary. Never seen such a fantastic filming and pictures of Varanasi. Good to see the way you have explored the city and made good relations with people of Varanasi. I have learned few things from this documentary and thanks for sharing with us. I hope that you guys have also learned a lot from interacting with Sadhus and trip to Varanasi.

Shauna // April 10, 2013 19:47

Thank you for sharing this.

Steve Arnold // April 11, 2013 18:47

I was glued to the screen for the duration, this is fantastic.

Kelsey M. // April 23, 2013 20:41

Beautiful film and photos, you guys are super talented. Thanks so much for sharing!

TOI // April 30, 2013 05:56

Can't get this documentary out of my mind. So powerful

John Naccarato // April 30, 2013 12:23

Watched this today. Very well done all of you!

Manuel Ortega // May 02, 2013 11:04

This is amazing. I was glued to the screen the entire time. Very moving and inspirational.

David G // May 03, 2013 05:00

Wow...simply amazing. One love. You guys are an inspiration to us all. Capturing that beautiful part of the world and sharing it with others. Thank you.

Mel Davies // May 03, 2013 19:07

This has to be one of the most beautiful documentaries I have ever watched, I am all chocked up and really inspired to face this world & create. I think everyone should watch this and the last few minutes of speech are the best I have ever heard.

Michael Nkwantabisa // May 17, 2013 02:51


Anupam Sharma (Ash) // June 22, 2013 12:42

amaZing x aWsome !

I have been to Varanasi, but feel lucky to have revisited and seeing this amazing city through your gifted eyes. You truly have a blessed heart & soul, that you are able to see that millions simply are unable to. Wishing you and your team all the very best in all your endeavours.

Kudos to the entire team, esp the Score is simply mesmerising !

# Subscribed #

Jiatu // June 30, 2013 19:57

Beautiful job, beautiful film. You guys employed both heart and mind. I enjoyed very very much.

GabrielFonseca // July 10, 2013 04:32

Congratulation Joey, it was a beautiful documentary and photography.
-from: Puerto Rico

kelli // July 15, 2013 15:55

I lived and breathed this place for 3 or more weeks and just fell in love with it. You all did an amazing job. tear to my eyes to watch this doco.

RENEE VICHOS // August 03, 2013 12:16

A truly remarkable and stunning account - I was mesmerised and in awe of you and your team. Thank you so much for making this available. I am most definitely going to visit India and can hopefully capture some of your magic.

Varanasi, India: “Beyond” Documentary | /abhinav/weblog // August 21, 2013 11:55

[...] Read the director’s experience here: [...]

Kathy Langford // September 13, 2013 06:50

I was moved by this piece of work. I spent some time in Varansi in 2008. It is a special place and it was wonderful to see it brought to life on film. You are all very talented artist sand beautiful people. Thank you for sharing.

Rafael Costa Dias // September 15, 2013 03:55

Esse documentário e suas imagens mudaram a minha maneira de ver a fotografia e a vida. Infelizmente ele não está disponível em português, mas com algum esforço consegui entender a história. Obrigado!

This documentary and its images have changed the way I look at photography and life. Unfortunately it is not available in Portuguese, but with some effort I could understand the story. Thank you!

Russellji // September 24, 2013 08:22

Excellent journey. You took me on a mind blowing and emotional trip with the Indian people I love.

Deepak DS // September 27, 2013 17:13

An amazing journey!

Rita Henriques // October 24, 2013 05:01

Hi from Lisbon, Portugal.
Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring documentaty!
Amazing people and wonderful landscapes.

Naveen Sippy // November 30, 2013 23:46

hi from Varanasi, India. It's superb... beautiful... your photography, editing, sound, video and all just superb and nicely done. Thanks for sharing it. The message in the movie for everyone and should be spread across all the borders and limits.

roberto olivares // December 12, 2013 16:01

Hello you are the best photographer in the world by far congratulation very inspirational!!!! question do you recommend the lee nd filter polyester ? thank s for your tutorials!

Amit // January 02, 2014 16:03

Excellent photography and emotions captured !!! Mind blowing.

Nilay Kumar // March 18, 2014 04:46

Awesome work!

Wasim // June 24, 2014 15:04

this is was brilliant... really well made.. fantastic

Ashutosh.C // July 05, 2014 23:44

Its Awesome..close to Spiritualism, feels G8..

vivek // July 12, 2014 09:42

hi! the video is awesome.
but please could you tell the name of the song which plays at the starting when you travel to india.

Anatha Attar // February 03, 2015 04:37

I can't view this enough. Gorgeous!

subair bavas // June 07, 2016 05:29

U people are awesome. I have seen your documentary about Varanasi.I am belonging to the southern part of India. I didn't had much information about Varanasi even I am from India.when you guys gonna visit India should visit south India's another kind of culture here.I can help you if you want.all the best

andrew mcneill // October 24, 2016 09:51

I've watched this many times. I've worked all over India and I can never get enough of this brilliantly made documentary. I've met Baba Vejay many times on the banks of the Ganga.

Mahesh is now in Bangalore if anyone is interested.

Thanks to Joey, Cale and Ryan for making this available for free.

Warm regards,

Svetlana Rybchinskaya // February 19, 2018 01:58

Fascinating!!! Thank you for the opportunity to see the world of Indian yogis.
Absolutely amazing movie and pictures !
Seeing Magesh is so inspiring for me as I study now the path of Aghora which is truly fascinating! I was happy to see him and to feel the path he had chosen.
Thank you so much and good luck in your adventures!!!

* Mandatory fields

Your comment has been posted