© Stephen Dupont.
Photographer Stephen Dupont is of a rare breed. He infiltrated a raskol community, and documented the rough and ruthless individuals involved in Papua New Guinea’s gang life. His new book, Raskols: The Gangs of Papua New Guinea, presents formal portraits of members of the Kips Kaboni (Scar Devils), Papua New Guinea’s oldest criminal gang. Dupont set up a makeshift studio inside the Kips Kaboni safe house, where he photographed his subjects and their unique handmade weapons and firearms. These mostly young, unemployed men orchestrate raids, carjackings and robberies as a means of survival. The gangs control the streets. Despite the crime and violence they have unleashed on their city, some view them as modern-day Robin Hoods. With a corrupt government and police force, every day in Port Moresby is survival of the fittest. Many of these raskols initially turned to crime, violence, and anarchy as a way to protect and provide for themselves and their communities. Raskols: The Gangs of Papua New Guinea, is published by powerHouse Books.
Dupont is an Australian photographer and filmmaker who primarily photographs fragile cultures and marginalized peoples. A recipient of the 2007 W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography and the 2010 Gardner Fellowship at Harvard’s Peabody Museum for his work on Papua New Guinea, his photographs and handmade artist books are in the Collections of the Library Of Congress, the New York Public Library and the National Gallery of Australia, among others. He is a member of the New York City-based agency Contact Press Images and the Brooklyn Artists Alliance, and lives with his family in Austinmer, Australia. – Courtesy powerHouse Books