Striking portraits offer rare insight into Black Power gang

By Nelson Groom

KEY POINTS

  • Sydney photographer Casey Morton has opened a window into the Black Power gang in New Zealand.
  • He has relatives in the gang who allowed him to earn their trust and arrange the photo shoot.
  • Morton said he wanted to 'show them for who they really are and let people make up their own mind'.
  • The nation-wide gang is known for their bloody and decades-long rivalry with the Mongrel Mob.

A Sydney photographer has managed to open a window into the lives of New Zealand Black Power members with a series of candid portraits.

Casey Morton earned the trust of the gang to shed light on their story, and the results are striking.

"I have some relatives who are associated with the gang, so I used them to bridge the divide," Morton told Daily Mail Australia.

"I wanted to show another side to what the gang is about. The idea was to show them for who they really are and let people make up their own mind."

Flying to Christchurch, Morton met members of the local chapter to shoot the snapshots in a clubhouse.

"Beforehand they laid the ground rules. At times I felt very intimidated by them, but I never felt unsafe," Morton said.

The patched vests signal the members' status. To earn them they must endure a gruelling initiation period that can span a year before they are officially welcomed.

The Black Power was founded in the 1970s to counter the Mongrel Mob, with whom they have a bitter and decades-long rivalry.

Tensions boiled over last month, when shots were fired at a Mongrel Mob member's funeral procesion in Whakatane.

But Morton believes Black Power are not as violent as they once were, and says there is more to the group than meets the eye.

"What I saw on the day felt a lot more like a brotherhood than anything else.

"At times I felt like I was just hanging out with family, uncles and brothers, but at the same time you also knew and could feel that there was a dark side to them."

Photo / Casey Morton / IMP Features
Photo / Casey Morton / IMP Features
Photo / Casey Morton / IMP Features
Photo / Casey Morton / IMP Features
Photo / Casey Morton / IMP Features
Photo / Casey Morton / IMP Features
Photo / Casey Morton / IMP Features
Photo / Casey Morton / IMP Features

- Daily Mail

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