Photos from a Fun Day Out with the Masonic Order of Liberia

Photographer Conor Beary ended up in Monrovia, visiting his girlfriend's family, and wound up with an invite to a largely secretive annual celebration.

by Conor Beary
Oct 30 2016, 2:00pm

The average Christmas holiday with your girlfriend's family doesn't always include a trip to the local Masonic temple. But photographer Conor Beary just rolled with it. Last December, he spent a month shooting in various parts of Liberia, visiting his girlfriend's parents back in their home country. And, after a drink or two the night before, he ended up taking his camera out on a scorching day in Monrovia.

"I was at a pool party one evening," he says, "and got invited by a family friend to the ceremony the next day. He said a time and a place and I showed up to the temple for eight next morning, without any real any idea of what to expect, The only Masons I've seen before had been in a Simpsons episode."

This felt a world away. Locals in the area looked on as the masons marched – "the streets of Monrovia aren't really the type of place that morning suits and top hats go unnoticed" – and Conor did his best to fight off a coming hangover under the hot sun. For the most part, the Masons didn't seem that bothered about the unexpected appearance of a white guy with a camera.

"I spoke with people all day, and got quite a mixed feeling from a lot of the Masons. I don't think they're a community that gets a great deal of exposure so I think some were naturally quite wary – either that or busy. But the vast majority were really friendly and welcoming, I even got a few invitations to become a member."

He's still deciding. In the meantime, here are more of the photos from his trip.

See the rest of his work on his website and find out about a trip to Liberia that Conor's crowdfunding for, to set up photo workshops for children in Monrovia's West Point township.