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Snapping Asia's ancient ceremonies

From crocodile biting to hungry ghosts, Hans Kemp records the region's rituals

A male oracle leads a large group of devotees during the annual Kodungallur Bharani festival, in the Indian state of Kerala. (Photo by Hans Kemp)

BANGKOK -- Dutch-born, Bangkok-based Hans Kemp is a heavyweight in photography, and not just because his latest book, "Divine Encounters: Sacred Rituals and Ceremonies in Asia," weighs nearly 3 kg (or 4.8 kg in a signed limited edition). This is a monumental work in every way -- 400 pages packed with provocative images, providing a fascinating and intimate portrayal of some of Asia's most unusual festivals and rituals.

The significance of such events is a longtime interest of Kemp, 57, whose previous books include "Burmese Light," about his travels in Myanmar, and "Bikes of Burden," about motorcycle transport in Vietnam. An international hit, "Bikes of Burden" has sold about 100,000 copies.

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