Stephen Dupont’s Raskols

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2012, Art, Documentary, Photography, Pictures]

Australian Photographer Stephen Dupont ( the serious looking fellow in the first photograph below) has scooped the pool of every major photographic prize there is, and in effect, has now clocked photography. He has won the Robert Capa Gold Medal citation from the Overseas Press Club of America; a Bayeux War Correspondent’s Prize;  the Australian Walkleys, and in 2010 he received the Gardner Fellowship at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology for his work on the exhibition I am about to present. This is to name but a few of the awards no doubt now cramping the mantel piece in Dupont’s pool room.

But back on track, over several years aDupont travelled north from his home in Sydney and took photo’s of Papua New Guinea’s street gangs; colloquially known as “Raskols”. Loosely translated as criminal, these Raskol’s bare no resemblance to the Western interpretation of the word, which is invariably and inextricably linked to the 1994 children’s comedy “Little Rascals“. These Raskols, are much, much more serious than Alfalfa, Spanky and the gang.

From the “Heart of Darkness” style forests of New Guinea and the sprawling urbanization of Port Moresby, The Raskol has risen and become an opportunistic style of vagabond. Running in gangs, ruling the streets and making their very own weapons, the brutality displayed by these desperate crims would make The Crips and The Bloods shake in their blue and red coloured do-rags. Crude home fashioned machete’s and duct taped together hand guns is the name of the game and too numerous accounts to mention have these implements being used to deadly effect: Often, for the gain of an empty purse or a clapped out vehicle. Taking what they want and doing what they please, these men and boys come from nothing and in their desperation for something, have developed a deservedly feared reputation.

Dupont was granted a brief reception with a few of the men, which he has captured beautifully in his award winning series. Below are a selection, chosen by Me and My Moustache, for your perusal and enjoyment.

This guy clearly thinks it a good opportunity for a “thumbs up” occasion! And with this, we will close.

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