Meet The Mighty Mongrels
These guys are no joke. Jono Rotman of Vice got the chance to photograph the Mighty Mongrels, and the pictures are pretty epic.
They’re known as The Mighty Mongrels, and are engaged in just about everything from drug trafficking, prostitution and armed robbery. In 2013, a tenth of all incarcerated New Zealanders were members of the notorious gang. While red bandanas and British bulldogs wearing German Stahlhelm helmets are the standard trademark for the Mighty Mongrels, the biggest telltale sign is usually the black tattoos dominating their face. The gang is “reclusive”, “secretive” and very intolerant of the media… which is why it was such a shock when they agreed to have these portraits done. In the 1960s, a gang of variously disaffected youth sprang up in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. They didn’t ride bikes, but they quickly developed all the trimmings of an outlaw motorcycle club: patches, club colors, and a fiercely violent process of initiation. They came to be known as the Mighty Mongrel Mob and today they’re the largest gang in the country, with around 30 chapters across both islands. Media access to the Mob is rare, which is why this photo series by Jono Rotman is kind of a big deal. Jono, who is a Wellington born photographer now living in NYC, cut his teeth capturing New Zealand’s prisons and psychiatric wards, before he took on gang life in 2007. We asked him how he convinced hardened gang members to sit for large format photography, and what he learned along the way. – Source
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